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No: 15053

Porto, Benfica and Villarreal in Europa goal feast

150 Fils


‘Friday protests’ erupt across the Arab world 22 Syrian protesters killed

Max 34 Min 22

Bahrain ‘touted ties with Israel’ JERUSALEM: Bahrain’s King Hamad boasted of his ties with Israel’s intelligence services and told his government to stop referring to the Jewish state as the “Zionist enemy,” a leaked US cable from 2005 showed. The cable, which was given exclusively to Israel’s Haaretz newspaper by the whistleblower website WikiLeaks, was written after talks between the king and Washington’s ambassador to Bahrain, William Monroe, in February of that year. “He revealed that Bahrain already has contacts with Israel at the intelligence/security level (i.e. with Mossad) and indicated that Bahrain will be willing to move forward in other areas,” Monroe wrote, referring to Israel’s spy agency. The cable also indicated King Hamad had ordered his public information minister to stop referring to Israel as the “Zionist entity” or “enemy” in official statements, Haaretz quoted the cable as saying. — AFP

US blasts Bahrain DUBAI: Sunni-ruled Bahrain was guilty of human rights abuses including arbitrary detentions, censorship and discrimination against majority Shiites before its violent crackdown on street protests, the United States said yesterday. Bahrain last month saw the worst sectarian clashes since the 1990s after protesters, inspired by uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, took to the streets, prompting the government to impose martial law and invite in troops from Sunni-ruled neighbors. “Discrimination on the basis of gender, religion, nationality, and sect, especially against the Shiite majority population, persisted,” the US State Department said in its Human Rights Report for 2010. “Authorities arbitrarily arrested activists, journalists, and other citizens and detained some individuals incommunicado... The government restricted civil liberties, including freedoms of speech, press, assembly, association, and some religious practices,” it said. The report cited allegations of mistreatment and torture, especially of activists and said Shiites were under-represented in the civil service, police and security forces. The government censored stories especially those related to sectarianism, national security, or criticism of the royal family, the Saudi royal family, or the judiciary, it said. “According to some members of the media, government officials contacted editors directly and asked them to stop writing about certain subjects or asked them not to publish a press release or a story,” the US report said. — Agencies

CAIRO: Egyptian protesters hold a giant Syrian flag with the slogan “God, Syria and freedom only” in support of Syrian anti-regime protesters as tens of thousands Egyptians gathered for a demonstration at Cairo’s Tahrir Square yesterday. — AFP CAIRO: Protests erupted across much of the Arab world yesterday, the Muslim day of prayer, with demonstrators dying in Syria and Yemen while Egyptians staged one of the biggest rallies since President Hosni Mubarak’s fall. In Cairo’s Tahrir Square, perhaps the spiritual home of the Arab protest movement, crowds demanded Mubarak’s prosecution as discontent with military rule grows, but in Oman heavy security prevented a planned demonstration after Friday prayers. Friday has become a peak day of protest for many Arabs since popular demands for freedom, democracy and an end to corruption began in Tunisia late last year and spread across the region. At least 22 protesters were killed yesterday as anti-regime demonstrations and clashes with security forces raged around Syria, the head of the National Organization for Human Rights said. “We have the names of 17 demonstrators killed in Daraa, and we have been told of the deaths of two protesters in Homs and three in Harasta,” Qurabi said by telephone from Cairo, where he lives in exile. “We are aware that live bullets, tear gas and another gas that causes fainting were used,”

he added. Qurabi’s report was more or less in line with other activists, who earlier said 13 protesters had been killed in the flashpoint southern town of Daraa, a number of people wounded in the central industrial city of Homs and also spoke of fighting in Harasta. After an earlier toll of seven was given for the number of deaths in Daraa, the authorities said only two people were killed. An activist asking not to be named for security reasons said the people in Daraa were killed when security forces opened fire with rubber bullets and live rounds to disperse stone-throwing protesters. “Thousands of demonstrators leaving from three mosques marched to the courthouse but security forces dressed in civilian clothing fired tear gas to disperse them,” said the activist. “Demonstrators threw stones and clashes ensued,” the activist said, adding that “the situation is very tense” in Daraa, some 100 kilometers south of Damascus. Protesters angered by the deaths set fire to the ruling Baath party’s headquarters in Daraa, he added. State television said “saboteurs and conspirators opened fire on residents and security

forces” alike in the town, killing two people-an officer and an ambulance man. The official SANA news agency said dozens of civilians, security and police were wounded. State television broadcast footage showing young men in keffiyehs standing behind trees while the sound of automatic weapons fire could be heard. The agricultural city of Daraa has been the focal point of anti-government protests marred by deadly violence that human rights activists blame on the security services and the government has attributed to an “armed” group. President Bashar Al-Assad, under popular pressure to introduce major political reforms and end emergency powers which give security services great leeway to crush dissent, had ordered a probe into previous protest casualties in Daraa. Abdel Karim Rihawi, who heads the Syrian League for the Defense of Human rights, said a number of people were injured in clashes in the industrial city of Homs and that there had also been fighting in Harasta, north of the capital. Rihawi also said several thousand people demonstrated in the port city of Banias and Tal, 20 kilometers north of Damascus. — Agencies



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PM preparing to confront grilling with new Cabinet

Letter to Muna

Moves on for new selection criteria KUWAIT: His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah has started the process of selecting the next Cabinet. He will work on constructing a Cabinet capable of shouldering the responsibilities both of local and regional needs. An official source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, stressed that His Highness the Prime Minister will first work on establishing a Cabinet capable of confronting inquiries. “His Highness the Prime Minister intends on selecting a Cabinet without paying attention to the pressure or opinions of trouble-makers that insist on pushing Kuwait into a dark tunnel,” the source said. The source noted that His Highness Sheikh Nasser is well aware that those creating unjustified tension only want to see the parliament dissolved. “Therefore, a new selection criteria will be used this time,” the source pointed

out, noting that new Cabinet members will need to be able to handle confrontations and be able to counter inquiries from the Parliament. “They will not just stand by and watch the game but also go into the field.” The source noted that such confrontations are inevitable as the Popular Action Bloc (PAB) and the Development and Reform Bloc (DRB) are sure to file interpellations as soon as the new cabinet is formed.

Kuwaiti youth dies By Hanan Al-Sadoun KUWAIT: A 24-year-old citizen was admitted to the hospital by friends and declared dead upon his arrival by medical staff, reported security sources. An official report indicated that the deceased was having dinner with his friends in his own diwaniya when he suddenly dropped to the floor, motionless. An investigation and autopsy was ordered to determine the exact cause of the young man’s death. Meanwhile, northern border security officials found the body of a beheaded man in the neutral zone between the Kuwaiti and Iraqi borders, reported security sources. An initial investigation revealed that the corpse was of an Iraqi man in his 50s. The body was referred to the proper Iraqi authorities.

Moreover, the source said that His Highness the Prime Minister intends to take the podium as many times as it takes, just as he always has, to respond and contest any grilling motion filed against him. “He believes that taking the podium is not necessarily a bad thing,” the source said, adding that past grilling motions were too personal and had no interest in reform. — Al-Qabas

Minister denies MP’s ‘Iranian spy network’ claims KUWAIT: Kuwait’s acting Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs has dismissed recent reports claiming that the newly reappointed Prime Minister, Sheikh Nasser AlMohammed Al-Sabah, previously sent a minister to the Iranian Embassy in Kuwait to apologize concerning the recent ‘Iranian spy network’ case. The acting minister, Roudhan Al-Roudhan, was commenting on media reports quoting Kuwaiti MP Musallam Al-Barrak. The MP had earlier claimed that the pre-

mier had asked one of his ministers to visit the Iranian Embassy in Kuwait to apologize to Iran for mentioning the name of Iran in the “spy network” case. “Such a story is divorced from reality and has nothing to do with credibility, and has even overstepped all bounds of values and morals,” the minister said. AlRoudhan urged local news media to ensure objectivity and credibility in their reporting in order to continue their noble calling in serving national interests. — KUNA

BEIRUT: Kuwaiti and Lebanese officials at the inauguration of the medical center in Lebanon’s mountain tourist area of Hammana.

KFAED establishes Hammana heath center BEIRUT: Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) yesterday celebrated establishment of a medical center in Lebanon’s mountain tourist area of Hammana. The center has been equipped with advanced technology for radiation and bone treatment as well as up-to-date medical laboratories, he said. KFAED is keen on supporting these projects because of their importance in promoting tourism as well as meeting needs of the people and tourists, said KFAED representative in Lebanon, Nawaf

Al-Dabbous. This project is one of 13 Kuwaiti-funded ventures, such as health centers and hospitals, located in several parts of Lebanon, Al-Dabbous added. Four and half million dollars have been allocated for renovation of hospitals and clinics in Lebanon, as part of the USD 300 million sum, specialized by the fund for the rebuilding of the country following the 2006 Israeli offensive, he noted. Al-Dabbous asserted Kuwait’s keenness on financing such projects within the framework of historic and brotherly relations with Lebanon. Meanwhile, the head

of the federation of municipalities in the Upper Metn region, Karim Sarkis, expressed gratitude to His Highness the Kuwaiti Amir, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad AlJaber Al-Sabah, the government and people for the humanitarian contributions of the fund in the country. These sentiments were echoed by the head of the center, Elias Maher, and board chairman, Fadi Semaha. KFAED aims to support infrastructure projects in Hammana and upgrade electricity and water networks, at a cost of $5 million in the next few months. — KUNA Dear Muna Alfuzai


he healthcare system in Kuwait is a joke! I was once rushed to the emergency room and an Egyptian doctor looked at me, did not do a single test, and diagnosed me like a ‘god.’ He told me that I had food poisoning because I was delirious and vomiting. He told me that it was rampant in Kuwait. I told him how could he be sure that I had food poisoning if he did not do a test on me? He just looked at me and walked away in a pompous stomper. Hospitals make money by performing medical functions, by issuing tests and by performing necessary operations. When you have doctors with a ‘god complex’ that diagnose patients out of the air you have trouble. I subsequently flew to Dubai and the Syrian doctor who graduated from Yale University in the United States calmly told me “we need to do an endoscopic evaluation of your stomach to see if there are any problems.” Simple! The next three rooms were full of Kuwaitis waiting to see him. I had ulcers and a hiatus hernia. I was given the proper treatment. I don’t think that all doctors are horrible in Kuwait, I think that doctors and nurses are chosen for the wrong reasons and lack qualifications. Because Kuwait is known as a hard place to live these hospitals are desperate to fill seats. The nursing is horrible in Kuwait and I think the aftercare is almost as dangerous as the care. I once had a loved one go to the emergency room at Mubarak Hospital and it was pathetic. I promptly whisked him away to a private hospital, which was like night and day if you compared the surroundings. At Mubarak Hospital I interviewed the patients in the ER and asked them how long they had waited; most of them responded with a sorrowful glare. They were mostly too poor to care. I saw doctors on mobiles in the ER talking to their friends and nurses lift up their filthy dirty masks to sneeze in the air. I saw blood-stained debris in the corners and a filthy state of affairs in that ER. As I peered into the ambulances parked by the hospital, I didn’t even see a bandage. No wonder people die in road accidents so often in Kuwait. It is worse than what you allude to in your article. Do you think the Minister of Health goes to any of these hospitals or his family go to any of these hospitals? NO! I said to one person “get the Minister on the phone and see this mess he is responsible for!” I recently visited Brumrungrad Hospital in Bangkok and I would have thought it was in the Middle-East. There were many Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC) citizens visiting the hospital for operations. I started interviewing some of the families there and they were very happy with the treatment. When I asked the Emiratis’ why they did not choose to seek medical treatment in The City Hospital, which is beautiful, they were not responsive to the idea. Interesting! The Emirate government has invested greatly in building a new Healthcare City in Dubai but if the Emiratis don’t trust the doctors or the hospitals there then it has failed. The hospital was also cheaper compared to the prices in the Middle East. So, in conclusion, is the healthcare system good in Kuwait? The answer is no. Is it beneficial for poor laborers looking for treatment better than what they have in their own countries? Yes. What is interesting is that if you speak to Southeast Asian workers at the end of the day they will tell you they would look for treatment in their own country if they truly become sick because they trust the system more in India than Kuwait and it is cheaper. You are always quick to defend your country on various issues but to solve the problems of Kuwait it is quite simple. With the oil wealth most ministries could be overhauled and the government could build the Kuwaiti people a new airport that is one step in the developmental process. Without the construction of this airport you are nothing because this is the gateway to your nation. If you modernized your society and set it on a developmental path you could attract a better medical community but currently you have to settle for what you can get and what you have attracted is not qualified enough to operate on a chicken. You should choose or demand a new leadership that cares more about your nation and their actions. Mariam



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In my view

Allowing change to happen By Hussain Al-Qatari


he anti-government bloc in Kuwait has been working hard to push for change. The demands have developed from the grilling of several ministers to the resignation of the prime minister. Now that the Cabinet resigned, Sheikh Nasser AlMohammad Al-Sabah was reappointed again as prime minister. This came as a shock to the opposition bloc and every day we read statements from MPs threatening to submit grilling motions as soon as the Cabinet is formed. It is a known fact that there are many dissatisfied citizens in Kuwait. The performance of many government bodies is unsatisfactory and there is a very thin, frail hope that suggests things can actually change for the better. For many months the antigovernment bloc has continuously demanded that the government make amendments to laws that allow more freedom as well as reform in several the country’s sectors. The dissatisfaction and continuous demands for improvements are all positive indicators. What doesn’t seem to be quite positive, however, is the fact that many people are not going about this issue in a positive constructive manner. Take for example the continuous threat to grill ministers, the torrent of attacks that these ministers receive whenever a small fault appears in their ministries or even the way that many opposition MPs speak about them, with very little respect and a lot of animosity. It is very ironic that the very people that claim they can bring stability, civilization and efficiency to the country are vulgar, inconsistent and unorganized. It seems quite obvious, today more than ever, that these parliament members are not fighting a war against corruption but are attacking His Highness the Prime Minister himself. Instead of spending so much time and energy complaining about the prime minister these people should invest their time and energy in actually fixing what they can fix on their own. I believe that they can do much on their own, without the need to shift ministers or demand the resignation of state officials. By doing their role as honest representatives of the people, and by being a true example of dedication and transparency, they can have a big impact on the people, and therefore the government, in a very peaceful and nonaggressive manner.

The Staff of T-Square Magazine along with Dr Omar Al-Khattab , the head of the Department of Architecture in Kuwait University.

‘Futuristic Design’ seminar hosted by KU By Abdullah Al-Qattan KUWAIT: Under the patronage of Kuwait University’s (KU) College of Engineering and Petroleum’s Dean, Dr Taher Al-Sahhaf, the Department of Architecture hosted the seminar, ‘Futuristic Urban Design - The Comparison Between Kuwait City and Masdar in Abu Dhabi.’ During the seminar, architect Samer Al-Bustan from the Kuwait Metro Company spoke on the subject with Jeyatah Bayan from Masdar in Abu Dhabi. Among the presenters and speakers were Dr Anwar Al-Yatama, the General Secretary of KU’s College of Engineering, Dr Mansour Chrag, the Dean Of Student Affairs at KU’s College of Engineering as well as the members and the faculty of KU’s Department of Architecture. Dr Omar Al-Khattab, the head of the Department of Architecture, talked about the importance of architecture and the roles it plays on a personal and urban level. He also spoke on how it can be used to help solve the current transportation

The College of Engineering and Petroleum dean, Dr Taher Al-Sahhaf speaking at the seminar problem. During his presentation, architect Samer Al-Bustan mentioned how the new metro system in Kuwait will affect traffic in a positive way and how it will decrease daily traffic, especially at peak hours of the day. At the seminar T-Square Magazine,

an architectural student magazine, announced the release of their 10th issue, ‘Kaleidoscope.’ The magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, Alia Al-Ezza said that they will keep discussing the factors that affect architecture and how these issues influence Kuwait.

UK Embassy offers online visa procedures KUWAIT: The British Embassy in Kuwait has changed its visa issuing policy and starting tomorrow, appointments will be necessary to get a British Visa. Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Kuwait, Frank Baker, made the announcement during a press release and said that those wishing to get a visa must first make an appointment online before going to the embassy in an attempt to limit overcrowding. “The main goal of this new service is to increase the amount of services provided,” the ambassador said. He indicated that the new online service allows applicants to save time, effort and allows transactions to be completed faster. Ambassador Baker also announced that the embassy’s visa centers will start providing public transportation access cards that can be used on buses and subways in the United Kingdom. — Al-Rai

Dr Omar Al-Khattab, the head of the Department of Architecture in Kuwait University.

The presenters of the seminar.



Kuwait ‘an oasis of democracy’ Yemeni diplomat hails positive role KUWAIT: A Yemeni diplomat has affirmed the significance of Kuwait’s role in support of development schemes worldwide, hailed the country’s strong-founded democratic system branding the country an “oasis of democracy.” Intisar Al-Neman, a designated minister, in charge of media and cultural ties at the Yemeni embassy in Kuwait, said that the Kuwaiti support for the educational and health sectors in her country, since five decades ago, has touched the hearts of the Yemenis and robustly contributed to boosting development in the country. She expressed gratitude for the humanitarian aid to her nation, particularly at times of crises, reflecting sincere sentiments of brotherhood and cooperation and a translation of the depth of the ties between the two peoples.

Proof of the substantial Kuwaiti support can be seen in the presence of a chain of Kuwaiti-funded universities, schools, hospitals, roads and dams across Yemen. Asked on her views regarding democracy in Kuwait, Al-Neman, praised the distinctive media and the freedom of expression, enjoyed by the country’s writers and journalists. She also praised the National Assembly saying the parliament symbolized the well-rooted democracy in the country, describing Kuwait as a an oasis of democracy in the region. Practice of the free press is a major dimension of the real democracy, she said, indicating at similarities between her country and Kuwait at the levels of freedoms of speech and press, democracy and political pluralism, noting the supervisory role of the parliaments in the two countries.

Progress made in the realms of the media and the press reflects will of the Kuwaitis to remain adherent to “the inherited principles of freedom and democracy,” the Yemeni diplomat underscored in the interview with the national news agency. On the cultural cooperation, she noted that the Yemeni Ministry of Culture organized, on November 25, a formative arts exhibition including a pavilion for the Kuwaiti artists, Mai AlSaad and Samar Al-Bader. She also indicated at close cooperation at the agricultural levels, as well as in the sectors of education, transports, health, investments and teaching. The two countries had signed cooperation accords and protocols at various levels. Volume of the trade exchanges between the two countries amounted to $484 million in 2010. — KUNA

Kuwaiti enters Geneva exhibitions with 3 projects GENEVA: Kuwaiti Inventor Saqdek Qassem entered the 39th International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva, from April 6-10, with three projects that won him the 2010 Arab inventor trophy. Qassem showcased his invention to KUNA, explaining how such devices function. The “Alchemist”, said Qassem, was a device that has five functions that help in facilitating the process of analyzing samples sufficiently and more accurately; thus, making assessment of any samples a speedy and reliable procedure. Then the inventor went on explaining his second invention which was dubbed as the “Smart Vent” a device that decreases the consumption of electricity and power in bathrooms. Qassem also featured his “Smart Door” project that enables parents to control the opening of doors for children by providing sensors that measures the weight of an individual and height which automatically opens the

GENEVA: Saqdek Qassem at the 39th International Exhibition of Inventions yesterday.

door via providing an exact input and data for authorized individuals. On the feedback, Qassem affirmed that he got a lot positive remarks and comments

on his inventions, revealing that he got offers to mark his projects. Around 765 inventors from 45 countries are partaking in the event. — KUNA

Kuwait Digest

Milking the payroll cow! By Dr Jassim Al-Omar


n my article last week I talked about the payroll system in Kuwait, namely in government bodies, and how it lacks the simplest rules of justice. I discussed how the system allows a person with only three years experience in a certain position earn almost three times what their peers, or even seniors in other establishments get. Such facts are obviously a problem and the only solution, as I suggested, is to apply a payroll evaluation. In 1989 I was a member on a committee entrusted with salary evaluation under Abdul Aziz Al-Zaben, the current head of the Civil Services Commission (CSC). Following long discussions and visits to other Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC) states, one of their systems was selected and a report was submitted to higher authorities where the report has been held ever since. It still has yet to be approved along with many other subjects that would have shifted Kuwait further into the future if only put into practice. What could have happened if that system was applied? We know that the Kuwait payroll system is time based, which means that an employee is paid in accordance to how long he has been in service regardless of how competent or productive he or she is. The system is also degree-based, regardless of the nature of a job. The current system also involves annual increments, regardless of evaluation, meaning that someone with a pre-graduation degree might be promoted to higher positions faster that a university graduate because that person has earned more raises and promotions. On the other hand, the salary evaluation system focuses on the nature of the job, the effort needed to do it, the responsibilities it incurs, the skills and the degree needed. All this contributes to assessing the wages. This is a more transparent system that would end, or at least diminish, favoritism which, in my opinion, is the reason why the proposed system has yet to be implemented. Applying such a system would take up to 20 years. This means that the longer we wait the more employees will feel cheated and the more they will demand pay hikes and hold demonstrations. So, what are we waiting for? — Al-Qabas

French envoy to open plastic art exhibition in Kuwait KUWAIT: French Ambassador to Kuwait Nada Yafi is set to inaugurate an exhibition of Kuwaiti plastic artist Kamel Faras here today. The exhibition is part of the activities of the International Day of Francophonie at the French embassy in Kuwait. Faras said he would promote his second book during the event, which he said carries an artistic and literary message addressing the mind and soul. Several paintings to be exhibited revolve around symbolism, he said, adding that a total of 41 paintings would be on display. It is the fourth artistic exhibition for Nada Yafi as he had previously organized three similar events in Paris, Sarajevo and Kuwait respectively. It is mainly intended to contribute to

enriching the plastic art movement in Kuwait. Yafi’s paintings are marked by a harmonious aesthetic relationship pursuant to the philosophy of colors, shape and formation. — KUNA

KUWAIT: Two works of Kuwaiti plastic artist Kamel Faras.



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in brief

Tough time for shepherds KUWAIT: MP Khalid Al-Adwa proposed that shepherds be allowed to graze their flocks in areas of Sabbiya due to problems finding adequate pastures. The MP pointed out that the shepherds are having trouble finding grazing sites because their traditional pastures in the north, west, and south of the country have been converted into natural reserves. During a press statement last Monday, Al-Adwa said that the lack of pastures for livestock, along with increasing fodder prices, has resulted in the migration of several shepherds to Saudi Arabia to find work. Many Kuwaiti livestock farmers have suffered as a result because they now have trouble finding shepherds, he explained. The lawmaker added that allowing shepherds to graze in Subbiya would help encourage environmental integration and the growth of plants in the area. Violations detected in Awqaf KUWAIT: Official sources at the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs condemned the unjustified silence over the growing number of financial and administrative violations in the ministry. The sources said that many employees have been deprived of their positions unjustly, particularly in the information technology and legal departments. They added that even though employees brought their grievances to courts the ministry’s labor union supported and protected senior officials. KAC monopoly of govt tickets KUWAIT: A recent decision by the Saudi Shura Council to approve and authorize the Saudi Civil Aviation to invest amongst regional carriers provoked Kuwaiti aviation authorities by accusing them of intentionally creating obstacles to impede national carriers. Observers stressed that, as a pioneer in air travel and aviation, Kuwait should treat different carriers fairly. They also condemned the government’s intention to purchase all of its tickets from the new company that would be established following the privatization of KAC for the next seven years. They described the decision as unconstitutional. PIFSS raises pensions KUWAIT: The Public Institute For Social Security (PIFSS) has finalized all its preparations for the introduction of new regulations raising the cap for public sector workers’ monthly pensions to KD1,500 per person, an increase of KD250 on the previous maximum pension. The institute introduced the new system at the beginning of this month, explained its managing director, Fahad Al-Rajaan, telling local daily Al-Qabas that only those who end their public sector service after this month will be entitled to the newly increased pensions.

CAIRO: Sheikha Dr Rasha Al-Humoud Al-Jaber Al-Sabah with officials of the Association of the Lovers of Egypt yesterday.

Kuwait-Egypt ties deep-seated, cover all aspects of life Association honors Sheikha Rasha CAIRO: Advisor at the Premier’s Diwan Sheikha Dr Rasha Al-Humoud Al-Jaber Al-Sabah asserted here yesterday that Kuwaiti ties with Egypt are deep-seated as well as comprehensive ones that cover all fields of life. Sheikha Rasha made the remark on the sidelines of the honoring ceremony held for her by the Association of the Lovers of Egypt for her contributions in strengthening ties with the Egyptian people through love and taking part in various projects that promote the wellbeing of Egypt. Sheikha Rasha hailed her honoring by saying: “It is such an efficient society for what we made contributions to promote the bonds of fraternity, and the true love shown by Kuwait represented by its government and people toward Egypt, the land of pan-Arabism, and toward dear Egyptian people. It pushed up such ties which bind the two countries to new heights covering all domains of life.” Sheikha Rasha added that the love of Egypt is a precept and duty of every Arab and Muslim, noting that Egypt was mentioned five times by the holy Quran, and that the land of Egypt hosted prophets Moses, Jesus and Joseph, peace be upon them all. Further, Sheikha Rasha also noted the good and solid relations binding the two sisterly countries, noting the converging political views that

emanate from constants and truisms deeply embedded in the rationale of Arabism, Islam, along with the coherence of ranks and shared future. She also asserted that economic relations between the two countries are increasingly growing, adding that this is manifested in the gigantic projects that were carried out, and are still being carried out by the State of Kuwait with the aim of developing infrastructure, and improving various services provided to the Egyptian citizens. Sheikha Rasha also referred to what the Kuwaiti private sector set up of firms, institutions, and diverse utilities in what boosted the various economic activities inside Egypt, and provided a lot of job opportunities for Egyptian citizens. As for the domain of education, and cultural and academic ties, she said there is many evidence corroborating Egypt’s big contributions to the educational development in Kuwait whether before or after Kuwait’s independence, “and it is enough to mention the Egyptian successive educational missions that came to Kuwait since the mid of 1950s, and up till now.” She also noted the role of Egypt in devising the syllabi of state education in Kuwait and providing a sound scientific milieu for Kuwaitis, adding that the first three presidents of Kuwait university were Egyptians, and that Egypt was the

first destination to which Kuwait sent its female students to continue their post-graduate university studies in the mid of past century. She also hailed the role played by Egypt in supporting Kuwait’s independence, and in helping it devise its constitution, and how Egypt hastened to stand up for Kuwait against the invasion launched by the defunct regime of Saddam Hussein, and took part in liberating Kuwait from such occupation. Sheikha Rasha also said that Kuwait marked some time ago three precious national occasion, namely the 50th independence anniversary, the 20th liberation anniversary, and the 5th anniversary of the assumption of office by His Highness the Amir. Finally, Sheikha Rasha extended thanks for the Association of the Lovers of Egypt for organizing such a terrific honoring ceremony, wishing further progress for EgyptianKuwaiti ties. On her part, President of the Association of the Lovers of Egypt Tahani Al-Bortoqali expressed her appreciation for the role played by Dr Rasha Al-Sabah, and her insistence on answering the invitation made for her to visit Egypt, a country which she paid several visits to since the eruption of the 25th of January Revolution, in what shows her interest in joining Egyptians all their social occasions. —KUNA

Kuwait Science Club hosts exhibition of inventions GENEVA: Kuwait Science Club attended the 39th International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva, at a special pavilion of the fourth International Exhibition of Inventions in the Middle East in Kuwait, due in November. The participation of Geneva

exhibition aims to publicize to the international inventors about the Middle East exhibition, chairman of the Scientific Committee at the exhibition for the Middle East, Khalid Al-Hasan, said. The Middle East exhibition aims to highlight Kuwait in the field of invention and exchange

experience between Kuwaiti’s and the world, he added. A member of International Exhibition in Middle East committee, Dunya Tareq AlDagashim, said more than 40 countries will participate in fourth Middle East exhibition, to be held in November. The Middle East Exhibition is

due under the patronage of His Highness the Amir (of Kuwait) Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber AlSabah, and supervision of Kuwait Science Club and with cooperation of Geneva Exhibition. However, the Kuwaiti delegation of the Science Club attended the Geneva Exhibition yesterday. —KUNA



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in the news ‘Specify travel objectives’ KUWAIT: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has urged Kuwaiti citizens traveling to European countries, the US and Canada to study to specify the purpose of their visits in their visa application forms. The ministry’s consulate department said in a statement released lately that it has recently observed that some citizens travelling overseas to study stated falsely that the purpose of their visit was tourism. It warned those giving such false information that they might be denied scholarships if they do so, adding that the instructions in the visa information forms must be followed, with all applicants giving truthful information.

Kuwaiti man attacked for helping ‘exhausted’ woman A good deed after midnight KUWAIT: A Good Samaritan who helped out a female stranger ended up being stabbed by her son in return for his kindness. The victim, a Kuwaiti man, told officers that he was standing outside his home just after midnight on Wednesday when the woman, who he said was in her forties, drove up and asked him if he could help her. She explained that she had been overcome by exhaustion but needed to locate a social hall in the area where a wedding party was taking place and asked him if he would drive her car to the venue. The man said that although he told the woman that there was no event taking place at the venue that night and it was closed, she insisted that there was indeed an event taking place there and pleaded with him to accompany her, assuring him that she would drive him back afterwards. He eventually agreed to help her and got into the car. En route to the social hall, however, a four-wheel drive vehicle came up behind them and forced them to the roadside before a young man got out and attacked him, stabbing him four times before fleeing. The horrified woman screamed at this brutal assault, revealing that the perpetrator was one of her sons.

Emergency personnel were quickly at the scene and the victim was rushed to hospital. Fortunately, he was able to tell police the license plate of his assailant’s vehicle and a hunt is underway for the knifeman. Ex trouble A young man who was angry at being dumped by his former girlfriend broke into her family’s home in Salwa and physically assaulted her and two of her sisters before fleeing. The three sisters immediately went to the local police station to report the assault, with the assailant’s former girlfriend telling the officers that she had broken off her relationship with him over his obsessive jealousy. The man has been summoned for questioning. Car pest A Kuwaiti woman has brought charges against a male compatriot, accusing him of assaulting her after she spurned his advances. The woman told officers at Shuwaikh police station that on leaving her work the man had followed her in his car, intentionally hitting it with his own vehicle twice to force her to stop at the roadside before getting out and trying to give her his

phone number. When she rejected his advances, she said, he physically assaulted her before getting back into his car and driving away. At that point, she said, she took his license plate details which she passed onto the police. When they traced the man and summoned him for questioning, however, he denied the charges, insisting that the woman had verbally assaulted him following a minor collision between their vehicles. An investigation is underway to determine the true course of events. Biker busted Police are hunting for a young man accused of physically assaulting a traffic policeman after the officer pulled the youth over to caution him for riding a motorbike without number plates and not wearing a crash helmet. The officer was reportedly patrolling the Shuwaikh area when he saw the young man riding the motorbike, which had no license plates, without any crash helmet. On pulling the young man over and requesting his ID, however, the motorcyclist assaulted the officer before fleeing on foot, abandoning the motorbike and other items there. The investigation into the case is continuing.

Kuwaiti, European meetings KUWAIT: Kuwait’s Secretary of the Parliamentary Caucus Marzouq Al-Ghanim revealed lately that a National Assembly (NA) delegation is set to visit Belgium next week to hold talks with their counterparts from the European Parliament. Al-Ghanim was speaking in a press statement he issued to announce the upcoming visit which begins on Sunday, that will be headed by the Director of the Parliamentary Caucus and NA Speaker, Jassem Al-Khorafi. During the visit, the Kuwaiti delegation is set to hold numerous meetings, with the EP’s president and a number of its members. Discussions will focus on Middle East issues and matters concerning the Arab region, adding that the Kuwaiti delegates will exchange views with their European counterparts on these issues. The meeting with the EP speaker will be preceded by a meeting the EP’s Foreign Affairs Committee. Al-Ghanim stressed that the meetings will be important ones, due to their political and cultural significance, in relation to the dialogue among cultures. Calls for bolstering ties SARAJEVO: Member of the Bosnian Presidency Baker Izzat Baiqovic has underlined the importance of strengthening Kuwait’s presence in his country, particularly in the economic sphere. During his meeting with Kuwait’s Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina Mohammad Fadhil Khalaf at the presidential palace here, Baigovic called for stimulating the strategic partnership between the two countries, adding that Bosnia and Herzegovina look towards Kuwait with confidence and optimism due to their exceptional ties with the Gulf state. The distinguished politician added that his country is keen to have Kuwait play a vital role in developing economic ties, noting the natural resources which his country enjoys, especially water resources which has become a great investment in relation to alternative energy sources. The Bosnian leader expressed a wish to visit Kuwait soon to maintain the strong bilateral ties between the two nations, particularly between the leadership of both. Ambassador Khalaf, meanwhile, acknowledged Baigovic’s calls for strengthening bilateral relations, especially with regard to bolstering ties and the need for Kuwait to engage in the available developmental projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

KZH-funded projects in Lebanon bring joy to orphans, help needy BEIRUT: Charitable projects which Kuwait Zakat House (KZH) bankrolls in coordination with the Lebanon’s Zakat Fund of Dar Al-Fatwa are spread all over Lebanon in what brings joy to orphan children and needy families and lightens up their faces. The previous commendation was mentioned yesterday by Shaikh Dr Zuhair Kibba, Director General of the Lebanon’s Zakat Fund, while commenting on the charitable deeds carried out by KZH in Arab and Muslim countries in general, and in Lebanon in particular, and declaring a number of new projects that KZH will implement in Lebanon in order to further increase the already bright image of Kuwait in the Gem of the Mediterranean. Taking a similar tack, Kibba announced the launching of, “orphans sponsorship project which is one of the biggest and oldest

projects held in cooperation with KZH which sponsors more than 1,300 orphans who receive monthly stipends along with remunerations that are paid on special occasion like feasts.” Kibba also said that, “there is a project which KZH is still subsidizing it, namely Al-Rayaheen Plantation Project at Akaar area at a total cost of nearly $1 million, and over an area of some 40.000 square meters with a capacity of 200 cows in what offers a source of income for KZH that enables it to increase its contributions to orphans, particularly in northern Lebanon. Further, Kibba announced a new project under construction, namely a mosque at Shaniya summer resort near to Bhamdoun town with a finance from KZH amounting to USD 1.500 million, adding that the mosque will be inaugurated by the end of

this year to be added to other religious edifices bankrolled by the State of Kuwait. Kibba also said he met, during his participation with the delegation of Lebanon’s Zakat Fund led by Adnan Al-Debs, chairman of the fund’s board of trustees at Dar Al-Fatwa, at the 20th forum on contemporary Zakat issues organized by Zakat Fund (March 15 - March 17), the delegation met Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister for Legal Affairs, and Minister of Justice, Minister Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Justice Rashed Al-Hamad, and reviewed with him new projects that will be funded by KZH. In this respect, Kibba made clear that there are two projects that he submitted to Al-Hamad, the first is a project on constructing a kitchen for orphans sponsored by the Zakat Fund at a cost of $60,000, and the other project aims at holding

Quranic contests during Ramadan month at a cost of $120,000, hoping that the two projects will be completed at the earliest. Further, Kibba said that KZH is one of the most important centerpieces supporting Lebanon’s Zakat Fund since the latter’s establishment in 1984, noting that KZH continues its charitable deeds which are manifested in various development projects constructed in various regions for the service of orphans and needy families. The total assistance offered by KZH to Lebanon’s Zakat Fund exceed $20 million including $1.800 paid over the past year only, and was devoted to charitable development projects. There are more than 4,000 families living all over Lebanon, and making use of the assistance provided by KZH. — KUNA


Heavy clashes in Libya’s rebel-held Misrata


UN discovers 115 bodies in western Ivory Coast


Indian govt grapples with hunger-striker


Saleh rejects GCC exit plan Embattled Yemeni leader slams Qatar; 4 killed

SANAA: Yemeni girls shout slogans during a rally supporting Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh yesterday. — AP SANAA: Protests in Yemen descended into violence yesterday in which at least four people were killed and dozens wounded as President Ali Abdullah Saleh rejected a Gulf Arab plan to secure an end to his 32 years in power. Saleh, facing an unprecedented challenge from hundreds of thousands of protesters, initially accepted an offer by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states, as part of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), to hold talks with the opposition. On Wednesday, Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al-Thani said the GCC would strike a deal for Saleh to leave. But yesterday, Saleh told tens of thousands of supporters in the capital Sanaa “We don’t get our legitimacy from Qatar or from anyone else ... we reject this belligerent intervention.” Frustration with the impasse may push the thousands of Yemenis who have taken to the streets closer to violence. Two protesters were

shot dead yesterday, bringing the death toll from clashes with security forces this week to at least 23. “I don’t think the GCC or the West want Yemen to go down the road of Libya, because that’s exactly where it’s going,” said Theodore Karasik, an analyst at the Dubai based INEGMA group. “The more entrenched Saleh gets, the greater the outside pressure, so this could really illustrate how much influence outside powers actually have over Yemen.” Clashes broke out in Taiz between hundreds of protesters and security forces who fired gunshots and tear gas. Two protesters were shot dead and 25 wounded by gunfire, doctors said. Some 200 were hurt by tear gas inhalation. The protesters were carrying to the cemetery the bodies of five people killed earlier in the week when police halted them. In the port city of Aden, once the capital of an independent south, police fired shots to disperse thousands of

protesters. Some 15,000 gathered in the Red Sea port of Hudaida to demand Saleh quit and mourn six killed in protests there on Monday. “We’re tired of this poverty and oppression in Hudaida and all of Yemen,” said protester Abdullah Fakira. “Enough already.” Some 40 percent of Yemen’s 23 million people live on less than $2 a day and a third face chronic hunger. Poverty and exasperation with rampant corruption drove the pro-democracy protests that began over two months ago, protesters say. Even before the protests erupted, inspired by regional uprisings, Saleh was struggling to quell a separatist rebellion in the south and a Shiite insurgency in the north. The violence could give al Qaeda’s Yemen-based regional wing more room to operate. All this adds to concern about stability in a country that sits on a shipping lane through which more than three million barrels of oil pass each day. Yesterday,

local officials from Abyan, a centre of militancy, told Reuters that troops were trying to retake the city of Jaar, from which they retreated two weeks ago saying they had been overpowered by militants. Security forces surrounded Jaar with tanks and artillery and clashed with “jihadist militants” who appeared to have fled, one official said. He said troops would soon enter the city. The United States and Yemen’s key financial backer, Saudi Arabia, both targets of attempted attacks by Al-Qaeda’s Yemen-based branch, appear ready to push aside their long-time ally to avoid a chaotic collapse. Apparently trying to avoid a snub to Saleh’s main backer, a presidential aide said Saleh’s comments were not aimed at Saudi Arabia’s offer to host GCC mediated talks. “The president welcomes the efforts of our brothers in the Gulf to solve the crisis but rejects statements from the Qatari prime minis-

ter which he considers interference in Yemen’s affairs,” the aide said. US State Department spokesman Mark Toner released a statement saying Washington welcomed the initiative. “We strongly encourage all sides to engage in this urgently needed dialogue to reach a solution supported by the Yemeni people,” he said. “President Saleh has publicly expressed his willingness to engage in a peaceful transition of power; the timing and form of this transition should be identified through negotiation and begin soon.” The Wall Street Journal said Washington froze its largest aid package to Yemen in February, worth $1 billion or more over several years. The Washington Post said a Yemeni opposition party leader had told a US embassy official in Sanaa there had been a secret plan to oust Saleh less than two years ago.— Reuters



Deadly clashes at Iran opposition camp in Iraq 10 dead after Iraqi army raids CAMP ASHRAF: Iraq security forces raided the settlement of an Iranian exile group that the Shiite-led government has long tried to oust and at least 10 people were killed in the pre-dawn clashes yesterday, officials said. The People’s Mujahedeen Organization of Iran exiles jeer Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki as a puppet of Tehran, partly because the Shiite premier has sought to close their camp in Iraq’s northeast Diyala province over their ties to former Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein. Tensions boiled over this week when the Iraqi army moved new troops near Camp Ashraf, prompting its residents to pelt soldiers with stones and throw themselves in front of military trucks. About an hour before dawn yesterday, the army stormed the camp, hurling smoke bombs at a crowd of about 100 masked people and chasing them with Humvees. The exiles claimed 31 residents were killed, while the Iraqi general who ordered the raid denied that anybody died. US and UN observers were unable to independently verify any casualties. But two officials at the hospital in Baqouba, Diyala’s capital, said 10 exiles were killed and 39 wounded in the clashes. Additionally, five Iraqi soldiers and one policeman also were injured, according to the officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information. Iraqi Lt Gen Ali Ghaidan said he ordered the crackdown after his troops were provoked. But signaling the government’s intent to edge out the exiles, Ghaidan also said the military seized land in Ashraf’s northeast corner and intends to give it to nearby Iraqi farmers. “Everything is normal inside the camp,” Ghaidan said in an interview yesterday afternoon. “Our troops are outside, and we are not near the residential areas. Everything is stable.” Ashraf resident Shahriar Kia said that was not true and described an ongoing standoff between the exiles and soldiers on either end of the camp’s main street. “They have attacked our homes and looted them,” Kia said. “People are standing out on the street to protect their homes.” The People’s

Mujahedeen, which seeks the overthrow of Tehran’s clerical rulers, has been labeled everything from a cult to a terrorist organization - although one that has provided the US with intelligence on Iran. The group says it renounced violence in 2001, after carrying out bloody bombings and assassinations in Iran in the 1980s. Also known by its Farsi name the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, the group is the militant wing of the Parisbased National Council of Resistance of Iran. The US considers it a terrorist organization although the European Union removed it from its terror list two years ago. The camp, a 30-square-mile compound in the desert, is located about 60 miles (95 kilometers) northeast of Baghdad. The exiles have built it into an oasis of well-kept gardens, water fountains and palm trees along marked-out streets, where the residents live in barracks-like housing segregated by sex. Iraqi government spokesman Ali Al-Dabbagh said security forces “did not use weapons” during the raid. He said the seized land was located outside the camp, and was merely being returned to the farmers who had owned it before the exiles

BAGHDAD: Families of prisoners and missing persons chant anti-US slogans while carrying pictures of their detainees and missing persons during a demonstration in the Azamiyah neighborhood yesterday. — AFP

moved in during Saddam’s regime. “It is their land and we are allowing them to use it,” Al-Dabbagh said. Camp residents described a dire picture of the melee, and supplied a six-minute video purportedly taken early yesterday that showed military Humvees flying the Iraqi flag chasing down about 100 stonethrowing masked people in an open area. At least one person in the crowd was seen hit by a Humvee, and an Iraqi soldier was seen firing from his AK-47 machine gun although his target was not clear. The video also shows at least six people lying on a the ground, and a dozen of blood-soaked men being treated by doctors. “This is a massacre, a catastrophe,” said Behzad Saffari, who has lived at Ashraf for nine years and acts as the camp’s legal adviser. Iraqi troops refused to let an Associated Press reporter near where the clashes took place, and ordered him out of the camp after briefly being allowed in through the main gate. Security forces also blocked public access to the Baqouba hospital, although ambulances raced between the camp and the emergency room for much of the day. A US Army officer at the camp yesterday looked very angry when talking to the Iraqi commander at the scene. Asked why, an Iraqi translator accompanying the US officer replied: “Because of the high casualties.” Ashraf’s 3,400 residents are legally considered “protected persons” under the Geneva Conventions. At a news conference in Rome, the People’s Mujahedeen blasted the US for failing to stop the assault or otherwise intervene despite the protections. US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, on a visit to northern Iraq, confirmed that American forces were nearby during the raid and planned to offer medical assistance to the exiles. But under a 2008 security agreement between Washington and Baghdad, US troops handed off the responsibility protecting Ashraf to the Iraqi government. “I urge the Iraqi government to show restraint and live up to their commitments to treat Ashraf residents in accordance with Iraqi law and international obligations,” Gates said in Mosul. — AP

GAZA STRIP: Palestinian Najah Gedah, 45, is carried into Al-Najar hospital, shortly before she died yesterday. — AP

Three civilians among 9 dead in Gaza air strikes GAZA CITY: Israeli warplanes and tanks hammered targets in the Gaza Strip yesterday, killing nine people, as a truce declared by the armed groups unraveled even before it could take hold. The latest deaths came after 24 hours of deadly tit-for-tat violence that was sparked on Thursday when Hamas militants fired an anti-tank missile at an Israeli school bus, critically wounding a teenager and lightly injuring the driver. Since then, Israel has launched more than 20 raids on targets across the enclave. By yesterday afternoon, it had had killed 14 Gazans-including six civilians, five Hamas militants and one policeman. It was not immediately clear if two others killed were combatants or bystanders. Around 55 people have been wounded. In the wake of the strikes, the self-declared truce called by Hamas appeared meaningless, with both Hamas and Islamic Jihad claiming mortar and rocket attacks on Israel yesterday. “Our holy warriors are ready to react to the Zionist aggression and respond to any foolish acts committed by the occupation with everything they have,” said a statement from Hamas’s armed wing, the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades. A statement on the group’s website also said the “resistance” had fired several Grad rockets at Ashkelon and that smoke was rising from the Israeli city. However, the Israeli defense ministry said the Iron Dome antimissile system had intercepted three of the rockets, while a fourth struck open ground without causing damage. Two of yesterday’s deadliest strikes took place around the southern city of Khan Yunis, with one killing two Hamas militants just east of the city. A second hit a group of civilians slightly farther north, killing a man in his 50s and a woman and her 21-yearold daughter, medics said. Four others were wounded in that raid, including an 18-year-old girl who was in serious condition. The Israeli military said it had targeted “two terrorist squads at the launch sites” and expressed regret for harming civilian bystanders.—AFP

Turkey ‘helping’ Iran avoid sanctions: Wiki JERUSALEM: Israel believes Turkey is actively helping Iran to sidestep economic sanctions and has also turned a blind eye to Iranian weapons smuggling into Syria, according to leaked US diplomatic cables published yesterday. Citing documents obtained by Wikileaks, Haaretz newspaper said senior Israeli officials had told the United States that Turkey was moving evercloser to Iran because it needed Iranian energy supplies and because it was revising its global

strategy. Israel used to enjoy excellent relations with Turkey, NATO’s only Muslim member, but these have grown fraught in recent years, with the Jewish state deeply concerned by Ankara’s warm ties with its arch-foe Iran. “(Israeli secret services) said (the) Turkish government is now assisting Iran in by-passing international financial sanctions and is ignoring Iranian weapons smuggling to Syria ... through Turkey,” a US cable dated November 2009 said.

The United Nations has imposed four rounds of sanctions on Iran in an effort to get Tehran to curtail its ambitious nuclear program that critics say is aimed at obtaining the atomic bomb. Iran denies this and says it is a civilian energy project. Notes from a meeting with the then-Israeli national security adviser, Uzi Arad, suggested that Israel was gloomy about prospects for improving its once strong relations with Turkey. “(Israel) believes there is little it can do to pre-

vent a further decline in relations with Turkey, but it is trying to preserve what it can by minimizing disputes and seeking gradually escalating diplomatic exchanges,” the cable said. Six months after this document was written, ties between the two countries deteriorated much further after Israeli marines killed nine Turkish activists aboard a boat that was trying to break Israel’s blockade of the Palestinian enclave of Gaza. —Reuters



Tunisia imposes travel ban on Ben Ali allies TUNIS: Tunisia has imposed a travel ban on all people involved in corruption cases as well as relatives and advisers of ousted leader Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, the state TAP news agency said yesterday, citing a judicial source. “All persons involved in corruption cases and relatives to the ousted president, ministers and advisers are banned from travelling, pending decisions to be taken thereon by the examining magistrate,” TAP said yesterday. It gave no further details. Justice ministry officials were not immediately reachable for comment. Ben Ali was toppled by mass protests on Jan 14 after 23 years in power and fled to Saudi Arabia. Seeking to assert their authority and gain legitimacy in the eyes of protesters who forced Ben Ali to flee, the caretaker authorities are attacking the vestiges of his 23-year rule. Tunisia’s interim authorities appointed a new government on March 7 and disbanded the state security apparatus, notorious for human rights abuses under Ben Ali. Last month, the interim government said it would freeze assets of 112 people close to the ousted president pending the completion of judicial investigations. — Reuters

Youth protesters snub reform talks invitation RABAT: A youth-led protest movement in Morocco said yesterday it would boycott an invitation to present its ideas for political reform to a constitutional review panel, branding the exercise a sham. The February 20 Movement pushed ahead with regular protests with hundreds taking part in one yesterday in front of parliament to demand King Mohammed cede his political powers, the dismissal of government and the dissolution of parliament. The group has spearheaded some of the largest anti-government protests the North African state has witnessed for decades, unsettling a political elite desperate to prevent any spill over from popular revolts in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. “We refuse to be part of a pseudo-democratic process that seeks to give Moroccans half the reform they deserve,” Ahmed Mediany, a member from the group’s branch in Casablanca, Morocco’s biggest city, told Reuters. Formed by the monarch, the review panel had invited members of the group from 40 cities nationwide to attend an April 16 meeting, part of consultations that also include political parties and the trade unions. “There are many honest and wholly-independent experts that can draft basic principles for a constitution that is truly representative of people’s desire,” said Jalal Makhfi at the protest in front of parliament. — Reuters

Protesters call for Mubarak’s trial Egyptian ruling military council under pressure CAIRO: Protesters packed Cairo’s Tahrir Square yesterday, piling pressure on the ruling military council to meet demands including the prosecution of Hosni Mubarak in one of the biggest demonstrations since he was ousted. Thousands of people waved red, white and black Egyptian flags in scenes reminiscent of the height of the uprising that helped ignite protests against autocrats across the Arab world. By afternoon, at least 200,000 people were crammed into Tahrir Square, the main theatre for the demonstrations that swept Mubarak from power, leaving in charge the army led by Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi. “Tantawi, Tantawi get your act together or do you want a pool of blood?” chanted some of the protesters, expressing frustration over the pace of reform. The military has enjoyed broad support since it took control of the country on Feb. 11, but complaints against its rule are growing. Attention is now focused on the perceived tardiness of legal measures against Mubarak and his entourage. Mubarak and his family have been living in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh since he left Cairo. The military has said the 82-year-old president, himself a former military officer, is banned from leaving the country. The public prosecutor, who has filed charges against some but not all of the Mubarak-era officials, was also the focus of anger. Protesters declared him “the sleeping prosecutor”. One activist group declared the demonstration “The Friday of Purification and Accountability”. Lawyers and judges held a mock trial for Mubarak and some of his closest associates on charges of “corrupting Egypt politically and economically, committing crimes of torture and stripping us of our rights”. A military helicopter hovered over the city centre as protesters poured into the square after Friday prayers to support demands including the removal of remaining Mubarak-era officials, such as the powerful provincial governors. “It’s a strong message that the revolution is not over yet and is still going on and will not quieten down before its goals are realized,” said Hassan Nafaa, a professor of political science and a prominent figure in the reform movement. The protest drew an array of Egyptians, from leftists to Islamists including the Muslim Brotherhood, a group considered Egypt’s best-organized political force. Banners carried economic

CAIRO: Egyptian protesters climb the statue of Omar Makram, a national leader and the revolutionist against the French conquest led by Napoleon Bonaparte around the turn of the 18th - 19th century, in Cairo’s central Tahrir Square, the focal point of Egyptian uprising, as they hang national flags during a protest demanding prosecution of ousted president Hosni Mubarak and his regime yesterday. — AP

demands, including the imposition of minimum and maximum wages. “The revolution is continuing until democracy is achieved,” read one banner. “There has to be continued pressure for the quick and effective realization of the demands of the revolution,” a coalition of youth activists said in a statement. Street action was “the real guarantee” of success, it said. The military has scheduled a parliamentary election for September and said a presidential election will be held in either October or November. Tantawi served as defense minister in Mubarak’s administration from 1991 until he was ousted. At one point, eight young men in military uniform appeared on a stage in the square, calling for Tantawi’s removal. The state news agency said investigations were underway to establish their identity and whether they were from the military. One shouted chants against Tantawi over loudspeakers, drawing applause from some in the crowd. Others declared them imposters seeking to create trouble between the army and reformists and

urged them to leave. The interim government installed by the military council has set up a new committee to uncover corruption from Mubarak’s 30-year rule. The illicit gains panel has said it will question Gamal Mubarak, the president’s son, next week. “There is a feeling that the military council faces many restrictions,” Nafaa, the political science professor, said. “The aim of the protest isn’t to criticize the military council or revolt against it, but to express a sense of frustration because of the tardiness in bringing to trial those responsible for corruption,” he said. The campaign against Mubarak-era figures has resulted in the arrest of once untouchable figures including the former interior minister and other ministers who held economic portfolios and are accused of corruption. Zakaria Azmi, a leading Mubarak aide, was the latest high-profile figure to be arrested. He was detained on Thursday on accusations of illegal gains. Reformists questioned why it had taken so long. — Reuters

UAE detains democracy activist, blogger

RABAT: Protesters shout in front of the parliament yesterday as its starts the spring session. — AFP

DUBAI: Authorities in the United Arab Emirates have detained a blogger and rights activist who says he’s gotten death threats for calling for political freedoms in the Gulf nation. Ahmed Mansour’s wife and a colleague say he was detained yesterday at his Dubai

home. Mansour told The Associated Press Thursday that he’s been getting threats for signing a petition calling for an elected parliament. The Emirates is an alliance of seven sheikdoms where political activity is severely restricted. Mansour’s wife, Nadia,

says 10 policemen searched their home, seized two laptops and took him into custody. Another political activist, Mohammed Al-Mansouri, also reported the arrest. Police and government officials could not be reached for comment. — AP



Kazakhstan’s president sworn in for new term ALMATY: Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev was sworn in for a new five-year term yesterday after securing a devastating victory in an election criticized by international observers. The 70-year old former Communist party boss is now entering his third decade of rule over this oil-rich former Soviet nation, which he has led unchallenged since it gained independence in 1991. After Nazarbayev’s swearing-in, the government tendered its resignation as required by the Constitution, setting the stage for a possible Cabinet shake-up. Government critics describe Nazarbayev as an authoritarian leader, although he insisted in his inauguration ceremony that he would usher in a new era of democratic reform. Thousands turned out to greet Nazarbayev and waved flags as he arrived for the ceremony at the Independence Palace in the capital, Astana. Nazarbayev said last Sunday’s election, in which he received 95.6 percent of ballots cast, was a vote for stability and prosperity in the Central Asian nation. Emphasis will now be placed on enhancing democracy and increasing fairness in the country’s justice system, he said. “We have to find the optimal way of empowering parliament, increasing the government’s responsibility and improving the electoral process,” he said. While growing oil-fueled prosperity and political stability have guaranteed Nazarbayev a genuinely high degree of popularity in Kazakhstan, the scale of his victory and the high turnout of 90 percent in the election surprised many international observers. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s election-monitoring arm said the vote was marred by numerous cases of ballot box-stuffing, voter intimidation and a lack of transparency. Prime Minister Karim Masimov thanked the president in an official statement announcing the government’s resignation. “It is important that the head of state won these elections so confidently. He has a new mandate for the continued development of our country,” Masimov said. The presidential administration has given no clear signal of what changes it might effect to the incoming Cabinet, but many political observers have predicted that Masimov, who has served as Prime Minister since early 2007, could be replaced. Kazakhstan has much to do if it is to live up to Nazarbayev’s promises to boost democracy. Nazarbayev’s Nur Otan party holds every seat in the lower house of parliament and lawmakers last year named him “leader of the nation” - a title that gives him the right to approve important national and foreign policies after he retires and grants him lifetime immunity from prosecution for acts committed during his rule. Programming on state television yesterday indicated there is little intention of pedaling back on what some have described as a creeping cult of personality devoted to Nazarbayev. — AP

ASTANA: Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev takes an oath during an inauguration ceremony yesterday. — AP

NATO regrets air strike Heavy clashes in Libya’s rebel-held Misrata AJDABIYA: Loyalist forces shelled the edge of the Libyan town of Ajdabiya yesterday, forcing insurgents there to retreat, as NATO said it regretted the deaths caused by an air strike on rebel tanks. Reacting to the shelling, panicked rebels pulled back to the city centre, seven kilometers (4.5 miles) away. The assault comes a day after many insurgents and civilians stampeded out of the eastern city on rumors that Muammar Gaddafi’s troops were at its gates. An AFP reporter said rebels had regrouped at Ajdabiya, 860 kilometers (535 miles) east of Tripoli yesterday morning, then tried to push west towards the oil town of Brega when the shelling began. On Thursday, families packed into cars and trucks had joined rebel military vehicles in a charge northeast towards the insurgent stronghold of Benghazi, with rebels saying Grad missiles had hit the edge of the town. Thursday’s flight from Ajdabiya came after two air strikes by NATO warplanes destroyed three rebel tanks and killed four people near Brega, wounded 14 and left six missing. NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen yesterday called the bombing an “unfortunate incident.” “I strongly regret the loss of life,” Rasmussen said of the strike, labeled by rebel military commander General Abdelfatah Yunis as a NATO “error.” The secretary general spoke a few hours after the operation’s deputy commander, British Rear Admiral Russell Harding, refused to apologize. Harding said the alliance was unaware rebels were using tanks in their campaign against Gaddafi forces, and said it was becoming hard to distinguish between the two sides on the road between Brega and Ajdabiya. “The situation on the ground is very fluid,” Rasmussen said. “We have seen in the past that tanks have been used by the Gaddafi regime to attack civilians.” The rebels said they were “not seeking an apology but an explanation.” “We

BENGHAZI: A coffin draped in the opposition flag is carried into the square, as a funeral for some of those killed by Thursday’s airstrike on rebel forces takes place during Friday prayers in the square next to the courthouse yesterday. — AP

are not questioning the intention of the NATO,” rebel spokesman Shamsiddin Abdulmolah told AFP. “It appears that there has been a breakdown of communication, perhaps due to the visibility on the ground... and that the positions of our tanks have not make clear to the NATO,” he said. Yunis insisted on Thursday night that the rebels had told NATO they were moving T-55 and T-72 heavy tanks from Benghazi to Brega. A source close to key Western envoys in Benghazi who are in regular contact with the opposition Transitional National Council said “the problem is there are no official direct links” between the rebel military leadership and NATO. “It would make sense to get a NATO situational awareness team on the ground” to gather information that would “cut down the chances of situations like yesterday (Thursday),” the source said. The source added that communica-

tions equipment was due to arrive in Benghazi yesterday to give the rebels a link to one of the European capitals, and that messages to NATO could be passed through that channel as an interim measure. It was the second time in less than a week that NATO warplanes had accidentally hit rebel positions near Brega. The alliance concluded that last week’s bombing was an “unfortunate accident,” and the rebels themselves admitted their fighters had made a “mistake” by firing tracers in the air, prompting warplanes to act in selfdefence. Meanwhile, rebels in the besieged city of Misrata criticized NATO yesterday for what they said was its lack of response to a relentless pounding by Gaddafi forces for more than a month. “We doubt the intentions of NATO. We have informed (NATO) of the positions of Gaddafi’s forces in the city which are far from any civilians,” a spokesman told AFP. — Reuters

Kenyan minister to face Hague court THE HAGUE: Kenyan Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and two other top-ranking officials appeared at the International Criminal Court yesterday charged with inciting the violence that erupted after Kenya’s 2007 disputed elections. The country’s Cabinet Secretary Francis Muthaura and former police chief Hussein Ali, currently head of Kenya’s Postal Corporation, also appeared under summons as part of the war crime court’s investigation into the violence. “The process has now started and we expect justice at this stage. Nothing short of justice. When you are innocent there’s nothing to worry about. So we have nothing to fear,” Kenyatta told reporters outside the court after the brief hearing. “Now we get a chance to see what evidence he (the prosecutor) has against us.” Prosecutor Luis MorenoOcampo is presenting two cases to the ICC, accusing a total of six government and business officials of instigating ethnic violence in which more than 1,200 people died after Kenya’s 2007 elections. The bloodshed between the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and the Party of National Unity damaged Kenya’s reputation for stability in

an otherwise turbulent region. But asked whether the ICC case would hurt East Africa’s biggest economy, Kenyatta said Kenya was a strong and stable country and neither the shilling currency nor the economy would suffer. The Kenyan government has objected to the ICC proceedings and asked the judges to declare both cases inadmissible. It argues that the adoption of the country’s new constitution and other reforms allow it to conduct its own prosecutions. However, polls have found that most Kenyans want an international court to try those accused of masterminding the violence. Lawyers representing all three accused urged the court to ensure the prosecutor discloses the evidence to the defense, a thorny issue in other ICC cases. Defense lawyer Karim Khan, representing Muthaura, said there was “no reason on earth” why evidence cannot be disclosed now, adding it was “central to the preparation of the defence.” “The judges are performing their job properly. There is a clear timetable for disclosure and we expect the prosecutor to honor the judges’ instruction,” Khan later told reporters. — Reuters



UN discovers 115 bodies in western Ivory Coast Some were burned alive, others drowned

CHIGI: Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi shares a joke with two of the post graduate students who were awarded during a ceremony yesterday. — AP

Berlusconi jokes about ‘bunga bunga’ ROME: Premier Silvio Berlusconi doesn’t seem to be letting his legal woes get him down. Yesterday, as he handed out prizes to a dozen promising young college graduates, he joked that two blonde recipients were so wonderful he was thinking of inviting them to his famed “bunga bunga” parties. And he told one of their male friends he was cute enough to come along as well. Berlusconi went on trial this week on charges he paid for sex with a 17-year-old girl at some of those parties then tried to use his influence to cover it up. He and the girl both deny that they had sex. The 74-year-old premier is an unapologetic jokester who frequently explains away off-color gaffes as harmless jokes. —AP

Niger Delta hopes could weigh heavy on Jonathan DUTCH ISLAND: Wooden canoes rock between piles of rubbish on the edge of an island in the swamps of the Niger Delta, home to a fishing community resigned for decades to empty government promises. Until now. Dutch Island is typical of many areas in the heartland of Africa’s largest energy industry. Electricity pylons and makeshift cast iron water tanks were constructed years ago but a failure to finish the job means people travel for hours to get clean drinking water. They’ve never had mains electricity. President Goodluck Jonathan is the first national leader to hail from the Niger Delta and comes from a family who built the same canoes still used by fisherman in the vast wetlands. He will have the widespread support of the local people in a nationwide presidential election on April 16. But expectations that Jonathan will answer the region’s prayers are sky high, in an area where most people live in poverty despite huge oil and gas resources under their feet. “We need water, power, boats, nets, jobs for fishermen, employment for farmers. Jonathan will bring them all for us,” said Edward Adieka, a fisherman and respected elder in a community of around 50 people. “Everyone in the Niger Delta is ready to vote for him,” Adieka says, pointing at a rotting wooden bench he has set out for election officials, who failed to arrive for a parliamentary election last Saturday which has been postponed by a week. Jonathan, who inherited the presidency last year after his predecessor died, is favourite to win a presidential vote in 8 days time and he will have a mountain of work on his hands if he is to maintain support in his home region, beset by crises. A fragile amnesty brokered by Jonathan has stalled militant sabotage attacks on oil facilities, which at their height in 2006 knocked out more than a quarter of Nigeria’s oil output. But Jonathan will need to provide the old gang members with jobs and bring more of the oil wealth to local communities if he is to sustain peace. Communities who rely on the waterways of the delta complain pollution caused by oil companies has destroyed their fishing livelihood, while a lack of jobs and poor infrastructure fuels crime in major cities like the overcrowded hub Port Harcourt. Delayed energy reforms before parliament are supposed to support more equal oil wealth distribution but there is no guarantee the legislation will pass and in what form.— Reuters

DAKAR/GENEVA: United Nations staff in western Ivory Coast have found more than 100 bodies in the past 24 hours, some burned alive and others thrown down a well, in a further sign of the ethnic violence gripping the country. The grim discovery came a week after the International Committee of the Red Cross said at least 800 bodies had been found in the town of Duekoue after an explosion of inter-communal violence. United Nations human rights spokesman Rupert Colville said yesterday that UN workers had found 15 more bodies in Duekoue, where the burnings took place, and had discovered more than 60 in Guiglo and 40 in Blolequin-all on Thursday. He said it was hard to say who was responsible as long-running ethnic tensions in the region have grown alongside fighting between forces loyal to presidential claimant Alassane Ouattara and those of his rival Laurent Gbagbo. However, he said the victims in Duekoue appeared to be from the Guere ethnic group supporting Gbagbo, and that the killings took place when fighters loyal to Ouattara took control of the town in their advance towards the south. “With these very ugly tit-for-tat killings in Duekoue ... (and) 100 more bodies found just yesterday, you’re talking about quite an escalation,” he told a news briefing in Geneva. “Some of the victims seem to have been burnt alive, and some corpses were thrown down a well,” he said, adding that the murders appeared to have been in retaliation for the mid-March killing of 100 people by pro-Gbagbo forces in the same town. The bodies found in Guiglo and in Blolequin were mostly lying in the streets. Most appeared to have been shot while running away and were wearing civilian clothes. “(In Blolequin) the perpetrators are said to have been Liberian militias, who spared the Guere from other groups after separating them out,” Colville said. “Blolequin was described by the human rights team as a dead town. The population has all fled, and there has clearly been a lot of looting.” The three towns lie at the heart of the

ABIDJAN: Pro-Gbagbo protestors, one of them holding a defaced poster depicting French President Nicolas Sarkozy, attends a demonstration to condemn French military action. — AP cocoa-growing region in the world’s biggest producer, near the border with Liberia. The area has long been prey to deep ethnic rivalries that have fuelled feuding between local Guere tribes and immigrant farmers from neighbouring West African countries, mostly Mali and Burkina Faso, who form the backbone of the cocoa workforce. Religious and tribal fault lines in the region mirror the divide between Gbagbo, whose traditional power base is in the Christian south, and Ouattara’s Muslim, northern-based forces. Ethnic loyalties straddle the border with Liberia, and both camps have recruited Liberian mercenaries hardened by years of civil war in their own country. Brutal massacres, exacerbated by festering land disputes, have bloodied western Ivory Coast for over a decade and pose a huge challenge for Ouattara, who is seeking to assert his authority after forcing Gbagbo to hole up in a bunker in the commercial capital Abidjan. “These killings along ethnic and religious lines, committed by both sides of the political divide,

illuminate the deep-seated divisions in Ivory Coast,” Corinne Dufka of Human Rights Watch said. “Ouattara must seek to reconcile these divisions at once and ensure that the perpetrators are held accountable.” While Gbagbo’s soldiers have been fingered for most of the atrocities since a disputed November election, Ouattara’s forces have also been accused of serious human rights abuses, a factor that could further undermine his legitimacy after taking power. Ouattara, recognized as the election winner according to UN-certified results, pledged in a speech on Thursday to bring those responsible for violence against civilians to justice. At a Ouattara military camp north of Abidjan, Zacaria Kone, a senior commander, scolded about 100 of his soldiers yesterday. “Don’t go killing someone. If there is a problem, see one of your chiefs here. They (the pro-Gbagbo militias) have massacred our families, but they will answer for that,” he said. Asked by Reuters whether he was referring to specific abuses by his troops, Kone said: “I will think about that question.” — Reuters

Italy, France to work to block out migrants MILAN: Seeking to diffuse a tense border crisis, Italy and France have agreed to joint sea-and-air patrols to try to block new Tunisian migrants from sailing to European shores. The deal was announced yesterday by Italian Interior Minister Roberto Maroni after meeting with his French counterpart in Milan. Rome and Paris have been sparring fiercely over what to do about the more than 20,000 Tunisians who sailed across the Mediterranean to Italy in recent weeks after political upheaval in their North African homeland. But some concessions seemed to emerge after the meeting between Maroni and French Interior Minister Claude Gueant. “We have agreed

on developing common action,” Maroni told reporters, adding that both sides would “take initiatives to block the departure of clandestine migrants from Tunisia” with joint sea-and-air patrols. Only a day earlier, Maroni accused France of harboring a hostile attitude toward the migrants from Tunisia, a former French colony. Paris, in turn, had vowed to tighten its own border controls in possible violation of EU-wide border rules so that migrants couldn’t cross into French territory from northwest Italy. The two European neighbors also agreed yesterday to work out a system under which migrants receiving temporary residency permits from Italian authori-

ties would head back to Tunisia during the permit period on what Maroni called a “voluntary” basis. It was not immediately clear how that would work. Gueant promised that France would follow the Schengen free-circulation rules for those holding valid documents from member states - border rules followed by many European countries - but he insisted that the Tunisian migrants must have “economic resources.” That appeared to be a concession, for France in recent days has blocked the entry of hundreds of Tunisians who have been trying to cross into France from northwest Italy. Neither man took questions and details were not immediately available. —AP



Crunchtime for Obama with approaching govt shutdown Obama, Congress struggle to break impasse

RIO DE JANEIRO: A relative mourns over the body of 14year-old Luiza Paula da Silveira Machado during her funeral at the Jardim da Saudade cemetery yesterday.— AP

Touched by tragedy, Rio buries dead RIO DE JANEIRO: Rose petals rained down on mourners at a Brazilian cemetery yesterday as first burials were held for the 12 children gunned down at their Rio school in Brazil’s worst-ever school massacre. Just 24 hours after the ghastly attack by a suicidal former student, thousands filed into the Morundu cemetery near the Rio suburb of Realengo, where the attack occurred, to lay the first children to rest. Relatives, supported by friends and other family, wailed and rocked during a ceremony at the cemetery where ambulances and fire trucks stood by, following a tragedy that has plunged South America’s largest nation into grief. A young girl in a pink Minnie Mouse t-shirt clutched a single rose to her chest as she attended a funeral at Morundu. A military police helicopter flew overhead during the funeral of 13-year-old Laryssa Silva, and mourners gasped and wept when they looked up to see rose petals cascading down from the aircraft. Laryssa was one of 10 girls, along with two boys, shot execution style by 23-year-old Wellington Menezes de Oliveira, who returned to his former school to unleash a terrifying slaughter. On Thursday police put the shooter’s age at 24. “This miserable man destroyed our family,” cried out Jackson da Silva, Laryssa’s godfather. “He had no heart. What he did was horrific,” he told reporters at the cemetery. Those attending the funerals included police, politicians, and medical personnel who tended to Thursday’s wounded and dying. Doctors in white smocks stood at attention, their stethoscopes around their necks. On Thursday, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who took office in January, could not hold back the tears as she shared her grief with a nation struggling to comprehend the tragedy. “This (crime) is not representative of the country. Innocent children lost their lives and their future,” she said. Her voice cracked as she asked people to stand for a minute’s silence, “so that we may pay our respects to these little Brazilians whose lives were taken away prematurely.” Rousseff, who travels to China this weekend, had no plans yet to travel to Rio for the funerals, the president’s office told AFP. By yesterday, 11 of the 12 dead had been identified by relatives. Eleven youths remain hospitalized, some with serious injuries. With each passing hour, details emerged of the attack by the troubled shooter, who only stopped firing when he himself was shot in the leg by a police officer and then turned one of his two revolvers on himself, officials said. A rambling, religiously themed suicide note was found in his clothes but it shed little light on the motivation of his macabre attack on defenseless children, aged between nine and 15, at the start of morning classes at the Tasso da Silveira public school. Some of the chaotic scenes were caught by the school’s closedcircuit video camera system, whose images showed desperate students running down hallways in a desperate bid to elude the attacker, who also could be seen reloading his weapon.— AFP

WASHINGTON: The clock was ticking yesterday for Republicans and Democrats to come up with a deal to avert a government shutdown at midnight after President Barack Obama failed to resolve the impasse. With Obama’s order ringing in their ears, negotiators from both sides worked through a second straight night in search of a spending plan to fund the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year that ends on September 30 — to be approved by the Senate and the House of Representatives. Obama’s second consecutive latenight summit with Republican House Speaker John Boehner and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid failed to clinch a deal in a budget row that has turned into a tussle for political primacy in divided Washington. The president showed a glint of optimism that negotiations could be wrapped up yesterday, allowing him to put the machinery already beginning to shutter the vast federal bureaucracy into reverse. “My hope is that I will be able to announce to the American people sometime relatively early in the day that a shutdown has been averted, that a deal has been completed,” Obama said. But the president cautioned he was not yet “wildly optimistic.” Should last-ditch efforts fail, around 800,000 federal employees would be temporarily laid off, frontline combat soldiers would miss paychecks and even the Blackberry smartphones of government officials would go dark. But deep political uncertainty will cloud the endgame of the crisis even if a deal is reached, with Boehner in an especially precarious political position. The speaker would have to sell the agreement to ultra-conservative members of his coalition, elected on a Tea Party platform of massive spending cuts and outright confrontation with the Democratic president. “The remaining issues are extremely, extremely narrow,” Reid said after returning from Thursday’s late-night talks at the White House. “I’m not really confident but I’m very, very hopeful.” Boehner joined Reid in a statement saying “we have narrowed

WASHINGTON: Deputy Budget Director Jeff Zients (left) and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, brief reporters at the White House regarding the budget and possible government shutdown. — AP the issues” and vowing to “continue to work through the night to attempt to resolve our remaining differences.” After the meeting, Obama canceled a planned trip to Indiana to stay in Washington and see the final push to the end. Reflecting his own party’s hard line on spending, Boehner said earlier that “we each have policy provisions we feel strongly about. We have spending that we feel strongly about.” Republicans disputed Democratic claims that a breakthrough-needed to avert the shutdown-had stalled on antiabortion measures attached to a spending blueprint passed by the House six weeks ago. The White House declined to detail remaining issues but Obama has said he will not back down on Republican attempts to curtail spending on education, environmental rules and some medical procedures. Both sides agreed on the need for massive spending cuts-but Boehner said earlier there had been no agreement on a number-despite Democratic claims that the sides had settled on slashing $34.5 billion from the budget. Any deal would finally clear a federal 2011 budget, with more pitched battles over

spending to come between Obama and Republicans ahead of his 2012 reelection bid. The showdown on the scope and nature of huge spending cuts in last year’s budget is the first big clash between Obama and the new Republican House elected in November, and has huge political ramifications. As the maneuvering intensified ahead of yesterday’s deadline, House Republicans voted through a stopgap spending bill including $12 billion in cuts that would avert a shutdown and take negotiations into another week. But Obama threatened to veto the measure, should it reach his desk, arguing it was a tactic to divert attention from the main focus of the high-stakes Oval Office talks. In addition to shutting out government workers, the partial closure of the government would delay pay to soldiers, including those in Iraq and Afghanistan, and hurt some Americans counting on annual tax refunds. National parks and monuments would also close, along with passport offices. But military operations and border enforcement would go on, under a waiver for activities crucial to national security. — AFP

Stars, protesters slam bid to gut US family planning WASHINGTON: A mother battling breast cancer, celebrities and lawmakers joined a call Thursday for US lawmakers to maintain funding for women’s reproductive health programs from the 2011 budget. “Over the past few years I’ve been battling stage three breast cancer, but this is not my first battle with cancer,” Carolyn Smithers, a single mother of two teenage girls, told several hundred pink-clad demonstrators in Washington protesting bids by Republican lawmakers to halt funding for family planning. A routine pap smear in a Planned

Parenthood clinic when Smithers was 19 found that she had cervical cancer, but caught the illness early enough that she was able to be treated and cured. “The checkup I received at Planned Parenthood saved my life,” Smithers said tearfully after “Sex and the City” star David Eigenberg and Emmy-nominee “Friday Night Lights” star Connie Britton had lit into Republicans for what the celebrities called attacks on women’s health rights. Separately, actress Scarlett Johansson took a break from filming “We Bought a Zoo” in New York to

release a video urging Americans to sign an open letter to Congress condemning the plan to cut the Planned Parenthood Federation of America out of the federal budget for 2011. “A cancer that goes undetected, a sexually transmitted disease left untreated, a woman unable to get the birth control she needs to plan her family and take control of her destiny-this is the disastrous vision of some leaders in the United States House of Representatives,” the star of “Lost in Translation” and “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” said. — AP



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Strong aftershock slams fatigued Japan, kills four Radioactive water spills out at nuke plant

MANILA: Residents try to put out a fire that razed a row of houses on stilts in suburban Paranaque yesterday. One resident was treated for smoke inhalation in the incident which gutted more than 200 houses and rendered more than 2,000 people homeless, fire officials said. — AP

Three babies die in new China milk scare BEIJING: Three babies have died and 36 people-mostly children-fallen ill in China after drinking possibly tainted milk, the government and state media said yesterday, in the country’s latest food scare. A preliminary investigation showed that the victims in the city of Pingliang in northwestern China suffered nitrite poisoning after drinking milk, a local government statement said. The children died on Thursday, it added. The case is another black eye for China’s scandal-prone food industry and its government regulators, who are still struggling to lay to rest a huge 2008 tainted-milk scandal that killed at least six babies and sickened 300,000. Nitrite is a chemical used to make dyes and to preserve meats. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nitrite poisoning can result in nausea, dizziness, respiratory distress, loss of consciousness and seizures. Two suspect dairy farms have been shut down and are being investigated, according to the statement from the government of Pingliang, which is in Gansu province. The official Xinhua news agency said the three dead were infants, while those who became ill were mostly under 14 years old. The government statement said one of those who fell ill was in serious condition. The 2008 scandal was caused by milk tainted with the industrial chemical melamine, which had been added to give the appearance of higher protein levels but which can caused kidney stones and eventual kidney failure. The scare rocked the Chinese dairy industry and led to global recalls of suspect products. It also prompted a government safety audit of dairies nationwide. Earlier this month, China’s product-quality watchdog said nearly half of dairies were ordered to stop production as a result. Authorities had said in 2008 that all of the contaminated products had been confiscated or destroyed, but melaminetainted dairy goods continue to reach the market. Last July, authorities said they had found 25,000 tons of tainted milk powder earlier in 2010. Zhao Lianhai, the father of a child victim who became a campaigner for families harmed by melamine-tainted milk, released a video on YouTube this week urging more government action to address the health impact of the 2008 case. “I know that many more children are experiencing poor health and that the health situation for many children is growing more severe,” he said. “We hope authorities can take real steps, and try new measures, to deal with all of these problems.” The government has feared letting the 2008 scandal become a source of public unrest. Zhao, 38, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison last November but freed a month later on medical parole. He said in an interview with Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post published this week that he was force-fed through the nose with China-produced milk while he was on hunger strike to protest against his jailing. Product-quality scandals are common in China. Last month, the country’s largest meat processor was forced to apologize when clenbuterol was found in some of its products. The illegal additive can lead to dizziness, heart palpitations and profuse sweating. Other recent scandals have involved bleached mushrooms, fake tofu, recycled cooking oil, and toys containing toxic paint. — AFP

SENDAI: A strong aftershock ripped through northeastern Japan, killing 4 people, knocking out power to vast areas yesterday and piling misery on a region still buried under the rubble of last month’s devastating tsunami. The northeastern coast was still reeling from the destruction wrought by a jumbo 9.0magnitude earthquake on March 11, with tens of thousands of households without power or water. The 7.1 tremor has now thrown even more areas into disarray and sent communities that had made some gains back to square one. Gasoline that had become more available after weeks of shortages was scarce again, and long lines formed at stations. Stores that had restocked shelves sold out of basics yesterday and were forced to ration purchases again. Still, the latest quake did far less damage, generated no tsunami and largely spared the region’s nuclear plants. Some slightly radioactive water spilled at one plant, but the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi complex reported no new problems. Matsuko Ito, who has been living in a shelter in the small northeastern city of Natori since the tsunami, said there’s no getting used to the terror of being awoken by shaking. She said she started screaming when the quake struck around 11:30 pm. “It’s enough,” the 64-year-old while smoking a cigarette outside. “Something has changed. The world feels strange now. Even the way the clouds move isn’t right.” The latest tremor - the strongest since the day of the tsunami sunk more homes into blackness, though power was quickly restored to many. About 950,000 households were still dark yesterday evening, said Souta Nozu, a spokesman for Tohoku Electric Power Co, which serves northern Japan. That includes homes in prefectures in Japan’s northwest that had been spared in the first quake. Six conventional plants in the area were knocked out, though three have since come back online and the others

SHICHIGAHAMA: One year-old Sae Muto is carried on her mother’s back near emergency lights at an evacuation centre suffering from power cuts following aftershocks yesterday. — AFP should be up again within hours, Nozu said. But with power lines throughout the area damaged, it was not clear whether normal operations would be restored, he said. In Ichinoseki, lines formed outside a supermarket when it opened yesterday morning. An employee with a flashlight escorted each customer around the store and jotted the price of each selected item in a pad. Most businesses were closed in the city, 240 miles (390 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo. One restaurant owner, Suzuki Koya, bought a small gas stove and made free meals in big boiling pot. “I saw the meat at the supermarket and I thought, ‘We should do a hot pot,”‘ the 47-year-old said. “It’s good to keep warm in times like these.” Several nuclear power plants briefly switched to diesel generators but were reconnected to the grid by yesterday afternoon. One plant north of Sendai briefly lost the ability to cool its spent fuel pools, but quickly got it back. At a plant in Onagawa, some radioactive water splashed out of the pools but did not leave a containment building,

Tohoku Electric said. Such splash-out is “not unusual, although it is preferable that it doesn’t happen,” according to Japanese nuclear safety agency official Tomoho Yamada. “Closer inspection could find more problems,” said agency spokesman Hidehiko Nishiyama, but no radiation was released into the environment at Onagawa. The plant began leaking oil into the ocean in the first earthquake, and the flow escaped a containment boom in Thursday’s tremor but was contained again by yesterday, coast guard spokesman Hideaki Takase said. Thursday’s quake prompted a tsunami warning of its own, but it was later canceled. Two people were killed, national fire and disaster agency spokesman Junichi Sawada reported yesterday. A 79year-old man died of shock and a woman in her 60s was killed when power was cut to her oxygen tank. More than 130 people were injured, according to the national police agency. That pales in comparison to the original quake and tsunami, in which more than 25,000 people are believed to have died. —AP

Growth of North Korea reactor alarms Seoul SEOUL: North Korea is rapidly completing what it says will be a light water reactor despite growing concerns over safety following Japan’s quake-triggered nuclear disaster, news reports said yesterday. The speed of construction has reportedly sparked fresh safety concerns in neighboring South Korea, where officials have been quoted as questioning whether Pyongyang can build a reactor that meets international safety standards. The South’s Yonhap news agency and the Chosun daily said satellite pictures obtained by Seoul’s KBS TV confirmed huge progress in the construction of a structure in Yongbyon, which the North says will be an experimental light water reactor by 2012. The edifice, presumed to be the outer walls of the reactor, has taken on a distinctive round shape over the past four months, the reports said. Ground has also been broken next to the building, prompting speculation that the North might be planning a second reactor in the complex, according to the Joongang daily. “The North claims it is building a light water reactor but the question is whether it is really able to manufacture the core although it can set up the concrete walls,” an unidentified government official told

Yonhap yesterday. “It is doubtful whether the North can build a reactor that meets international safety standards. Naturally, there are safety concerns,” the official was quoted as saying. Yongbyon for decades has been at the heart of the North’s drive for nuclear weapons, with a now-ageing gas graphite reactor producing enough plutonium for possibly six to eight bombs. That reactor was shut down as part of a six-nation disarmament accord, although the North vowed to restart it after quitting the six-party talks. The new light water reactor is being built near the site of a cooling tower which the North blew up in 2008 in front of international TV crews to dramatize its commitment to denuclearization. The North claims it is for producing electricity but Seoul is concerned that it might be a cover to stockpile enriched uranium used in the manufacture of nuclear weapons. Ex-South Korean foreign minister Yoo Myung-Hwan said in February the project had raised “serious concerns” over safety among neighboring countries and this issue should be addressed more urgently than the North’s nuclear weapons program. —AFP



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Pakistan fighting kills ‘50 militants’ Rebels attack security force patrol KHAR: Pakistani officials said yesterday that 50 militants and four soldiers had been killed in a district where the United States this week criticized the army’s efforts to defeat Islamist insurgents. The deaths, which could not be verified independently, were reported in Mohmand, part of Pakistan’s lawless tribal belt on the Afghan border singled out for criticism in a White House report flatly rejected by Islamabad. The United States has branded the northwestern tribal area, which lies outside Pakistani government control, a global headquarters of Al-Qaeda and one of the most dangerous places on Earth. Local administration official Maqsood Hassan told AFP that militants attacked a security force patrol in the Baizai area of Mohmand, triggering an exchange of fire on Thursday. “Four soldiers and 10 militants were killed in the attack, which was repulsed,” Hassan said. A separate air offensive targeting militant hideouts in different areas of Mohmand killed 40 rebels on Thursday, Hassan said. Troops used fighter jets and helicopters to pound rebel positions, he said. Local official Zabit Khan confirmed the incidents and casualties. Journalists and aid workers do not have independent access to the battlefield, so the deaths could not be confirmed independently. In North Waziristan, the premier fortress of Al-Qaeda and Taleban militants in the tribal belt, local officials told AFP that militants shot dead three tribesmen they claimed were spying for the United States. Two bullet-riddled bodies were found dumped in Pirkali on the outskirts of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan, police official Abrar Khan said. Another body was found near the market in Mir Ali district, 25 kilometers (15 miles) east of Miranshah, he

said. “We killed them after verifying that they were US spies,” notes found on bodies said. Local intelligence officials confirmed the killings. Militants frequently kidnap and kill tribesmen in the troubled region on allegations of spying for Pakistan or US forces, who are leading a 10year war against the Taleban in neighboring Afghanistan. A White House report last Tuesday noted a deterioration in the border areas this year and said Pakistan still had no clear path to triumph over insurgents. It drew attention to Mohmand, where for a third time in two years troops are attempting to clear insurgent strongholds, saying operations had been hampered by resistance, poor weather, refugees and bomb caches. Pakistan on Thursday rejected the report as “unwarranted” and said it would not be held accountable for US-led failures in Afghanistan. US officials have pressured Pakistan to open a major offensive in North Waziristan, but Pakistani commanders say their troops are too overstretched. With an estimated 147,000 forces in the northwest-more than the number of US led foreign troops in Afghanistan-the army has also endured heavy losses. — Reuters

SRINAGAR: Kashmiri Muslims carry the body of religious leader Moulvi Shoukat Ahmad Shah outside a hospital yesterday. — AFP

NEW DELHI: Indian activist Anna Hazare, 73 (center) activist Swami Agnivesh (right) and yoga guru Ramdev applaud as supporters perform during Hazare’s hunger strike against corruption yesterday. — AP

Indian govt grapples with hunger-striker NEW DELHI: The Indian government scrambled for a response yesterday as a hunger-strike protest over corruption by a 73-year-old Gandhi devotee entered its fourth day with growing public support. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held crisis talks with ministers and briefed President Pratibha Patil on the standoff, which has caught the nation’s attention at a time of rising public anger over graft. Crowds grew at the makeshift camp set up in New Delhi by social activist Anna Hazare, who started his fast on Tuesday. He spent the day addressing cheering supporters or resting on a mattress onstage. The use of methods made famous by Mahatma Gandhi, who pioneered fasting as a form of protest, and frail Hazare’s physical resemblance to the father of the nation have helped to spread the message and galvanise support. “I appeal to Anna Hazare to end the fast,” Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters yesterday, echoing pleas from the head of the ruling Congress party Sonia Gandhi and cabinet colleague Kapil Sibal, who is telecom minister. Hazare’s main demand is that members of civil society should sit on a committee drafting the Lokpal (Ombudsman) Bill which would give teeth to existing anti-corruption laws enabling the prosecution of public officials. The government has offered to give 50 percent of seats on the committee to civil society members, but the two sides are still wrangling over other

details and a defiant Hazare appears in no mood to compromise. “I have limited energy. I have no money, no big house and no gold, but I have support from the people and I see God’s will in it,” Hazare, who is being monitored by doctors, told supporters. A Facebook campaign supporting him has garnered 150,000 members, while a separate petition from campaign group Avaaz drew more than 100,000 signatures in 15 hours. Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan has written a letter to the former army driver, identifying himself with “the thousands who are fully supportive of your efforts,” local media reported. In the meantime, helped by blanket coverage in the national media and a highly organized publicity team, the campaign is developing into a broader movement against corruption. Protest marches have been held in Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Mumbai among other cities. Public anger is being fuelled by a series of recent scandals that have damaged Singh’s government. The Delhi Commonwealth Games last October were viewed as riddled with graft, while the allegedly fraudulent sale of telecom licenses in 2008 caused losses estimated at billions of dollars to the national treasury. Last month, leaked US embassy cables suggested the government bribed lawmakers in 2008 to secure victory in a crucial confidence vote. — AFP

Blast kills religious leader in Kashmir SRINAGAR: A blast outside a mosque in Kashmir yesterday killed a prominent Muslim religious leader and wounded a bystander, police said. Moulvi Showkat Ahmed Shah, the president of the religious group Jamiat-e-ahle Hadith, was nearing the mosque in Srinagar to lead Friday prayers when the explosion occurred. “I heard the blast and immediately came out of the mosque to see him (Shah) lying in a pool of blood,” said Sajad Ahmed, a resident of the area. “There was a mangled bicycle nearby.” Police believe an explosive was tied to a parked bicycle and triggered by remote control, a police officer said on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to talk to reporters. “It seems he (Shah) was the target,” Shiv Murari Sahai, an inspector-general of police, told reporters. Jamiat-eahle Hadith has nearly 1 million members in the Indian portion of Kashmir and runs about 600 mosques and religious schools. He was considered a moderate leader and a close ally of the pro-independence Jammu-Kashmir lib-

eration Front. But he had condemned the common practice of throwing stones at government forces as part of resistance against Indian rule in the region. He was not liked by rebel groups, and his home was hit by a grenade in 2008, police said. However, the United Jehad Council, an umbrella organization of more than a dozen rebel groups based in the Pakistani portion of Kashmir, condemned Shah’s killing. The council emailed a statement to the Srinagar-based Kashmir Media Network news agency. The All Parties Hurriyat Conference, an alliance of separatist political and religious groups offered condolences for Shah’s death and called a general strike for today. More than 68,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in the conflict. India accuses Pakistan of training and arming the insurgents, a charge Islamabad denies. India and Pakistan have recently resumed peace talks that were interrupted by the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008. — AP

Indian guru Sai Baba recovering PUTTAPARTHI: Doctors treating sick Indian spiritual leader Sai Baba, one of India’s most famous gurus, said yesterday they were “optimistic” about his recovery. The 85-year-old, wild-haired Hindu mystic, who has a following of millions across the world, has been on life-support suffering from multiple problems including a heart condition, lung congestion and kidney failure. “Sai Baba is showing positive signs of response to the treatment being given to him,” said an update from doctor A N Safaya from the Sri Satya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences in Sai Baba’s home town, Puttaparthi. “His health condition is stable though he is still on a ventilator and slow dialysis. The panel of doctors treating him are optimistic about his recovery.” Sai Baba is credited with many supernatural powers by his followers, including an ability to conjure objects out of thin air, remember past lives and cure terminal diseases. He counts former prime ministers and presidents, top businessmen and even Indian cricket superstar Sachin Tendulkar among his followers, which are thought to number tens of millions in more than 100 countries. — AFP

Nomura sees recovery in Saudi banks’ lending


US budget deal elusive



Brent gains ground in oil’s benchmark battle


Trichet shows ECB’s velvet glove



MNAILA: Philippine resident walks the street in one of the shanty towns in Manila yesterday. A survey by a respected research group found that the number of people who considered themselves poor and hungry had risen under the administration of President Benigno Aquino. The president however expressed disbelief over the survey, saying it did not fully cover his efforts to create jobs to help the poor.—AFP

Turmoil hits Gulf sukuk market Mideast sukuk issuers eye Malaysia: HSBC KUALA LUMPUR: More Gulf sukuk issuers are expected to tap the Malaysian market in the coming months although global issuance would be lower this year due to turmoil in the Middle East, HSBC’s Malaysian Islamic banking head said yesterday. Kuwait-based Gulf Investment Corporation and National Bank of Abu Dhabi both sourced funds from the Southeast Asian country in the past year, and the Dubai government is mulling a Malaysian sukuk sale, setting a trend of Gulf issuers looking outside the region for financing. Malaysia is home to the world’s largest Islamic bond market and has an estimated $79 billion in excess liquidity. HSBC Amanah Malaysia chief executive Rafe Haneef said the bank has several benchmark-sized sukuk deals by Gulf issuers in

the pipeline, and these are expected to be launched soon. “The ringgit market has a lot of liquidity and they may not end up paying a huge premium if they come to Malaysia because Malaysian investors still have a good understanding of the GCC risk, to some extent,” Haneef said in an interview. “The global market may end up putting a GCC credit in the Middle East basket. You’re from Middle East and there’s unrest in the Middle East, they don’t distinguish between GCC and the Middle East. There is unrest in the Middle East but it doesn’t mean all the GCC credits are impacted.” Political conflicts and anti-government protests have rattled financial markets in the Middle East, prompting some banks and investors to delay corporate activity and fund-raising plans.

Rating agencies have downgraded Bahrain and several banks, while retail lender Bahrain Islamic Bank postponed a planned $143 million rights issue. Bankers also expect a planned $1 billion Bahrain sovereign bond issue to be delayed as the Gulf Arab kingdom grapples with anti-government protests. Haneef said the sukuk market was likely to be subdued in the first half of the year and then pick up, mirroring the pattern seen in 2010 when the Dubai debt crisis kept a lid on the market early in the year. He forecast that global sukuk issuance would total about $20 billion this year with the bulk of sales coming from Malaysia. In 2010, global issuance was $23.3 billion. “The market is overreacting to the situation. It will settle down very soon but until then, you will find that issuers may not get

their expected pricing,” he said. More issuance could emerge from Asian countries such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Japan. “A lot of the refinancing is happening this year,” Haneef said. “The government of Malaysia has a (conventional) bond which is going to mature, Indonesia may seek dollar funding for various projects and they all may consider a sukuk issuance.” Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said early this year the country could sell sovereign Islamic bonds in 2011 while Indonesia is expected to issue $650 million in global Islamic bonds this year. The Kazakhstan government, Albaraka Turk , First Gulf Bank , Abu Dhabi’s Aldar Properties and London’s Gatehouse Bank could also issue Islamic bonds. —Reuters



Nomura sees recovery in Saudi banks’ lending Brokerage positive on Saudi, prefers Qatari banks RIYADH: Saudi banks would see a par-

HSINTIEN: A general view shows a construction site in Hsintien, in New Taipei City, yesterday. A planned ‘luxury tax’ that aims to rein in property speculation in Taiwan came a step nearer when it breezed through its first reading. The move comes as house prices in Taiwan have soared, leading to tensions over the widening gap between the island’s rich and poor that has seen Taipei become one of Asia most expensive cities. —AFP

tial recovery in lending this year, driven by steady retail and reviving corporate businesses, Nomura said. “We continue to believe that Saudi banks represent the best opportunity in an environment of rising interest rates,” said analyst Tarik El Mejjad, who upgraded Samba Financial Group to “buy.” Nomura, which remains cautious on UAE banks, said profitability

EU banks must have 5% quality capital to pass exam: EBA LONDON: Europe’s banks need to keep their core capital above 5 percent in a test imagining a two-year recession, in order to pass the regional exam aimed at reassuring taxpayers and repairing the sector’s image. The European Banking Authority (EBA) yesterday named 90 banks which must undergo the “stress test”. It will determine how many need to raise capital, sell assets or shrink their loan book to make them strong enough to withstand economic headwinds. The EBA, keen to be seen as tough after last year’s health check flopped, will use a definition of capital that is more stringent than last year. The 5 percent pass mark for core Tier 1 capital is comparable to the standard set for US banks under their private health check, the EBA said. The U.S. results were released to the banks last month but not made public. Banks that came through strongly were allowed to bump up dividends or buy back shares. In contrast, European banks are being encouraged to keep conserving capital. Europe’s regulator, running the stress tests for a third time since the financial crisis unfolded, said it will exclude much of a hybrid capital instrument used by many Germany state-owned banks, seen as one of the most controversial issues. The results will be released in June. The exercise aims to draw a line under the bloc’s banking problems and is already having an impact. Banks are bolstering capital ahead of the test. Even though few banks are expected to fail, being close to failing could prompt weak banks to raise capital. Plans unveiled by the end of this month can be included in the heath check. Germany’s Commerzbank AG, along with Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo and Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA, this week unveiled plans to increase their capital cushions. Banks that fail the test, or some that only narrowly pass, are expected to work with their national regulators to fix the problem. The EBA wants countries to have a backstop plan to provide capital, but

banks are expected to have until the end of this year to discuss raising cash privately, selling assets or deleveraging to bolster their capital position. Europe’s listed banks are expected to raise at least 40 billion euros this year and Spain’s private savings banks, or cajas, will raise a similar amount, according to a majority of investors polled at a top conference last month. Fewer than 10 banks are expected to fail the EBA stress test according to more than four-fifths of the 800 investors polled by investment bank Morgan Stanley. However, banks seen in the “near pass” region are likely to come under pressure to raise cash or see their shares discounted in comparison to rivals who have built capital up to robust levels. Portugal’s economic troubles have raised fears the capital level of its banks will be eroded by low economic growth and rising bad debts, and need bolstering. The EBA said it has set the most consistent definition of core Tier 1 capital possible-given it varies among countries-that mainly comprises common equity and retained earnings. To qualify, capital instruments have to be simple, issued by the bank and able to absorb losses as a going concern. It strips out hybrid instruments, including preference shares, but includes existing government support measures as they would “absorb losses and shelter banks in case of difficulties.” Some of German banks’ “silent participations” will be allowed, but some will not. Silent participations are a hybrid debt-equity instrument used widely by local regulators, but which critics say may not absorb losses under stress. The “stress” situation includes economic slowdown, rising unemployment, tumbling property prices and a drop in stock markets. But like last year there will be no stress testing of the sovereign debt held in banking books, rather than banks’ short-term trading book, as governments do not want to spook markets by contemplating a sovereign default. — Reuters

at the banks would remain under pressure amid “uninspiring” core revenues and elevated loan loss charges. Nomura downgraded Commercial International Bank (CIB), Egypt’s biggest private bank by assets, to “neutral” and cut its 2011, 2012 earnings estimates on expectations of a sharp slowdown in lending and a rise in loan loss charges. However, it expects a “rapid recovery” in CIB’s rev-

enue in 2012 driven by a gradual improvement in the domestic political situation. The brokerage said Qatari banks remain among the most profitable within its Eastern Europe Middle East Africa coverage universe and Qatar remains its preferred market. Qatari banks offer high and sustainable dividend yields and believes the likely MSCI EM inclusion of Qatar is not priced in, it added. — Reuters

Kuwaiti crude up to settle at $115.20pb KUWAIT: The Kuwaiti crude oil price

jumped $0.15 on Thursday to reach $115.20 per barrel, compared to Wednesday’s 115.05 pb, said the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation yesterday. The ongoing political unrest in the Middle East and North Africa region has pushed oil prices in the past few days up to its highest levels in two and half years due to fears of negative impacts on oil supplies.

The oil prices continued also their spiral despite the growth of oil stocks around the world. In normal situations the growth of oil stocks should take prices down. Economists and observers around the world worry that the oil prices would weaken consumers’ purchasing power, thus obstructing the already slow recovery of the world economy. —KUNA

SYDNEY: Cars streak past the Australian Stock Exchange offices in Sydney yesterday. Australia rejected the Singapore stock exchangeís $8.3 billion takeover bid for the Australian stock market operator yesterday with the federal treasurer saying the merger would not be in the nation’s interest. —AP

Saudi fund offers $25.5m loan for Bosnia road SARAJEVO: Saudi Fund for Development extended a 35 million Bosnian marka ($25.5 million) loan for a ring road project in Zenica, central Bosnian yesterday. The contract signed by Yousef Bin Ibrahim AL-Bassam, the fund’s vice chairman and managing director, and Bosnia’s Deputy Finance Minister, Fuad Kasumovic, builds on two other contracts signed with Saudi investors at a business forum this week. Saudi Al-Shiddi Group formed a joint venture on Thursday with Sarajevo-based construction company Ans Drive, with initial capital of $5 million, to engage in construction projects in Saudi Arabia. Al-Shiddi Group director Sulaiman AlShiddi also signed a contract to form a joint venture with Bosnia’s largest engineering

group Energoinvest, with starting capital of $10 million. Energoinvest, which has lost projects in Libya worth around 200 million euros ($288 million) because of turmoil there, hopes to make up lost ground with Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Gulf. Saudi investors, led by the International Development Bank (IDB), last year formed a joint company for Bosnia tasked with preparing prospective projects for investors. Saudi Arabia’s Sheikh Saleh Kamel, the chairman of the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry and founder and chairman of Bahrain-based Islamic banking group Al Baraka, pledged $50 million for Bosnian projects until the next business forum. — Reuters



Inflation may threaten recovery: Indonesia NUSA DUA, Indonesia: Rising food and oil prices could threaten the global economic recovery, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said yesterday at a meeting of Asian finance ministers in Bali. Indonesia’s rupiah hit four-year highs against the greenback earlier this week and inflation is running at more than 6.5 percent, underlining concerns that the region’s more successful economies may be close to boiling point. “In contrast (to developed countries), emerging and developing economies have led the global economic recovery... In fact emerging and developing countries in Asia have become an engine of global growth,” Yudhoyono said. “This is of course no time to be complacent,” he added, warning of upward pressure on commodity prices, the rising price of oil and the “increasing severity and impact of natural disasters and climate change”. Trade and liquidity imbalances combined with inflation “may threaten the global economic recovery, food and energy security and the achievement of millennium development goals” such as poverty reduction, he said. Yudhoyono was speaking at the opening of a meeting of finance ministers from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on the resort island of Bali. World Bank managing director Sri Mulyani Indrawati-a former Indonesian finance minister-and officials from the International Monetary Fund and Asian Development Bank also attended. With Europe’s sovereign debt crisis spreading to Portugal and much of the developing world’s economies still in the doldrums after the global financial crisis, Asia has become a magnet for capital seeking better returns. But much of it has been in the form of volatile portfolio capital that can be withdrawn just as fast as it is injected, raising fears of instability in economies that are leading the global recovery. Yudhoyono said ASEAN needed to speed up regional economic integration and progress toward the creation of a common market of more than 500 million people by 2015. The ASEAN region grew at around five percent last year, up from 1.5 percent in 2009 in the aftermath of the global credit crunch, yet it still counts almost 120 million people who live on less than $1.25 a day. The block includes Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Analysts say Asia’s emerging economies are poised for another year of solid growth in 2011 even if the impact of the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in Japan remains unclear. But inflation is a key concern for the region, which faces tighter monetary policies as authorities seek to temper price rises including in food staples such as rice. —AFP

GODOLLO: European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet speaks during a media conference after a meeting of Eurogroup finance ministers in Godollo yesterday. European finance ministers were wrangling over the size and terms of a rescue loan for Portugal at their meeting in Hungary.—AP

GODOLLO, Hungary: French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, left, greets Portuguese Finance Minister Fernando Teixeira Dos Santos during a round table meeting of Eurogroup finance ministers in Godollo, Hungary, yesterday. — AP

Mid-May deadline for Portugal bailout Trichet shows ECB’s velvet glove GODOLLO, Hungary: Euro finance ministers instructed the EU, the ECB, IMF and Portugal’s politicians to negotiate the country’s bailout by midMay for implementation after June 5 elections, Eurogroup head JeanClaude Juncker said yesterday. Ministers “invited the European Commission, the ECB, the IMF and Portugal to set up a program and take appropriate action to safeguard financial stability” across the 17-state eurozone, Luxembourg Prime Minister Juncker said. “Financial support will be provided on the basis that a policy program will be supported by strict conditionality negotiated with the Portuguese authorities, duly involving the main political parties.” He said a “cross-party agreement” in Portugal was needed for the plan, which will require heavy spending cuts, tax rises and other reforms in exchange for some 80 billion euros ($115 billlon). The package is to be

adopted by mid-May and “implemented by the new government” in June. European Central Bank head JeanClaude Trichet said it was essential that structural budgetary adjustments were at the heart of the plan and that the “hard work (should) ... begin immediately.” Jean-Claude Trichet appears to have taken a leaf out Theodore Roosevelt’s book, adopting the former US president’s mantra to “speak softly and carry a big stick” by discretely pushing Portugal to accept European aid. In a show of behind-the-scenes strength, the European Central Bank told Portuguese banks to cut their exposure to government debt, the head of the country’s banking association (APB) told Reuters. The pressure from the Frankfurtbased ECB led the banks on Monday to threaten to stop buying government debt if Portugal did not request a lifeline-an ultimatum which probably tipped Prime Minister Jose

Socrates into seeking European aid. The episode highlights the crucial role that Trichet, as ECB president, has taken in responding to the euro zone crisis, quietly but effectively filling a power vacuum left by governments’ slow policy response and aided by the ECB’s ability to act fast and move markets. On Friday he denied the ECB had pushed Portugal towards a bailout, though a day earlier he did admit the central bank had encouraged Lisbon to request aid. “He has emerged over a period of several months as an absolutely pivotal figure in attempting to resolve what looks like a near irresoluble crisis,” said David Marsh, chairman of management consultancy SCCO International. “Trichet has marched into the centre of the crisis management-by default, because there is nobody else interested or knowledgeable or forceful enough,” added Marsh, author of ‘The Euro: The Politics of the New Global Currency’.—Agencies

German luxury carmakers report strong sales

BALI: Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono delivers his speech during the opening ceremony of the 15th Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) finance ministers’ meeting in Nusa Dua on the Bali island yesterday.—AFP

FRANKFURT: German luxury carmakers have had a strong first quarter for sales, setting new records on the back of soaring demand in emerging markets, with China in the lead. BMW, the world’s leading premium auto manufacturer, said yesterday that first quarter group sales rose an annualized 21.3 percent to 382,758 BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce vehicles, its best result ever for the three-month period. In March alone, the group posted sales of 165,842 for a 12-month gain of 17 percent to surpass its previous monthly record in December 2007.

Sales director Ian Robertson said that “2011 got off to an excellent start for the BMW group ... thanks to our attractive model range and healthy auto markets in many parts of the world.” Sales of BMW brand cars gained 14.6 percent to 134,892 in March and 20.8 percent to 321,175 for the first three months of the year. Although they represent a small part of the total, Rolls-Royce sales more than doubled in both periods, to 261 and 723, respectively. Earlier in the week, rival Audi, which is owned by Volkswagen, reported the best quarter in its histo-

ry, with a gain of 18.4 percent to 312,600 vehicles. For the month of March alone, Audi posted a sales increase of 13.9 percent to 125,700. Meanwhile, Daimler said sales of its Mercedez-Benz models rose 12.7 percent in the first quarter to 280,500, and by 7.7 percent for March alone to 118,357. A total of 25,000 Smart city cars also moved off Daimler dealers’ lots in the three-month period, a gain of 9.8 percent, it said. All three German groups forecast record sales for 2011 as a whole. — AFP



US budget deal elusive Negotiators scramble, Boehner, Reid see way out WASHINGTON: Facing a midnight deadline, the White House and Congress worked furiously yesterday to break a US budget deadlock and avoid a government shutdown, after President Barack Obama and congressional leaders failed to reach a deal in late-night talks. “I’m not prepared to express ‘wild optimism,’ but I think we are further along today than we were yesterday,” Obama told reporters late on Thursday following a meeting with House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “There’s no deal yet unfortunately,” Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, told NBC’s Today program on Friday. “I think we’re very close. I think we’ve come 70 percent of the way in terms of dollars. That’s a long way to go in trying to reach compromise.” Without an agreement on spending for the next six months, money to operate the government runs out at midnight (0400 GMT today) and agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service would have to begin a partial shutdown. A government closing would continue until Republicans and Democrats either resolve their differences or pass a temporary funding bill. Vital services such as national defense, law enforcement, emergency medical care and air traffic control would continue. Obama, who has held four face-to-face meetings with the Republican and Democratic congressional leaders over three days, said a few “difficult issues” still

had to be resolved. He did not provide details. Repeatedly over the past few days, optimism over prospects for a deal have been dashed, prompting the two sides to accuse each other of acting to shut down the government for the first time since the mid1990s. But Boehner, the top Republican in the House, and Reid, a Democrat, managed to issue a joint statement after their latest meeting with Obama. “We have narrowed the issues, however, we have not yet reached an agreement. We will continue to work through the night to attempt to resolve our remaining differences,” they said. Obama’s Democrats have blamed the impasse on a Republican push for policy provisions that would block public funding of birth control and stymie environmental protection efforts. Republicans say they need to lock in the biggest spending cuts possible now to begin bringing down budget deficits that some economists say have reached dangerous levels-a projected $1.4 trillion just this year. The high-stakes negotiations have aimed to cut spending in the range of $33 billion to $40 billion for the rest of this year in an overall federal budget of about $3.7 trillion. A government shutdown would idle hundreds of thousands of workers, potentially put a crimp on the US economic recovery, and carry political risks for both Democrats and Republicans who would be seen by voters as failing to make compro-

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama makes his way to the lectern in the Brady Briefing Room to speak to the press following a meeting with House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on the budget impasse at the White House in Washington, DC. —AFP

mises. Boehner is under pressure to stand firm in the talks from Tea Party conservatives who helped fuel last year’s big Republican election gains with promises of deep spending cuts and reduced government. He likely could ram a spending-cut deal through the House without the support of the dozens of Tea Party freshmen. In doing so he would rely on support from a

Hungary over 2011 deficit target after three months BUDAPEST: Hungary’s public deficit

has already surpassed the government’s 2011 target after just three months, the economy ministry

announced yesterday, although it insisted there was no need to worry. “The public deficit has reached 742.1 billion forint (2.8 billion euros,

BUDAPEST: European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) General Secretary John Monks gives a joint press conference with Hungarian Unions in Budapest yesterday, a day ahead of a rally to be held in Budapest. — AFP

$4.0 billion) in the first quarter, which is 108 percent of the figure expected for the full year,” the ministry said in a statement on its website. This time last year, the deficit was 610 billion forint, or about 70.1 percent of the full-year forecast. The ministry said there was no cause for alarm however. While Hungary expected a further deficit of 469 billion forint in the second quarter, the last two quarters of the year should see massive income from special taxes and private pension funds, it said. This should result in surpluses of 221 billion and 303 billion forint respectively in the third and fourth quarter of the year, bringing the full year deficit back to the 2.9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) expected by the government. Hungary last year reduced its deficit to 4.2 percent of GDP, from 4.5 percent in 2009, according to figures published on April 1. In 2006, the deficit topped 9.0 percent of GDP-the highest in the European Union-before being reined in to 5.0 percent in 2007 and 3.6 percent in 2008. Hungary currently holds the rotating six-month presidency of the EU which sets a budget deficit limit of 3.0 percent. — AFP

coalition of more moderate Republicans and moderate Democrats. But no House speaker likes to abandon any wing of his or her political party in a legislative fight. It’s also unclear whether Tea Party activists would try to remove Boehner from power sometime down the road if he got on their wrong side. — Reuters

Corn prices hit record highs in Chicago NEW YORK: Corn prices surged to record peaks in the United States amid tight supply and fierce demand driven in part by rapid expansion of biofuels production. With demand outpacing supply despite a massive runup, and high oil prices adding to the pressure, analysts saw little respite in sight for buyers. On the Chicago Board of Trade, a bushel (about 25 kilograms) of corn for delivery in May rose to an all-time high $7.72. At more than $300 a ton, the price of the grain, used to feed humans and animals and produce biofuels, has surpassed its last record peak in July 2008, when high food prices sparked riots in several countries and led generated political instability. Corn futures prices, which have more than doubled from the same time last year, have risen further since March 31, when the US Department of Agriculture highlighted that supplies were limited in the US, the world’s leading corn exporter. “Despite higher US plantings, demand remains robust, inventories hover at dangerously low levels and weather remains a risk as ever,” Barclays Capital analysts said in a client note. Corn, or maize, is the most widely produced feed grain in the United States. But last year the US had a disappointing harvest, while the demand for commodities climbed as the global economy recovered from recession. In the meantime, a severe drought in Russia in the summer of 2010 reduced Russian wheat exports, intensifying demand for corn. — AP



IMF wants ability to tap financial markets

Arbitration upholds block on BP-Rosneft share swap

WASHINGTON: The International Monetary Fund

has proposed a plan to allow the multilateral lender to directly tap financial markets to be able to help member nations in crisis, according to a document published on Thursday. “There may be circumstances where it is either necessary, or preferable on effectiveness grounds, to augment significantly the Fund’s own resources,” the IMF said in a report dated March 23 and released Thursday.”While in 2009-2010 it was possible to do so by turning to member countries, the process took time and may not always be politically feasible,” it said. Instead, establishing the means to borrow from the markets at short notice to supplement its existing resources “could be worth exploring,” it said. The news comes a day after the IMF said it stood ready to provide aid to Portugal, the latest euro-zone nation seeking a bailout from debt woes. In the middle of the global financial crisis in 2009 the IMF sought to triple its resources to broaden lending capacity. While it was able to garner pledges from the Group of 20 major economies, it only managed to meet that goal in March this year. The “usable resources” of the crisis lending account for medium and high-income countries today totals $671 billion, the highest level since the IMF was founded more than 60 years ago. There was no immediate reaction from member states that would have to approve the plan, but it could face resistance. The IMF since its creation has been financed 100 percent by its member under a quota share system that now includes 187 member states. Domenico Lombardi, an economics professor and former IMF administrator for Italy, said IMF resources have not kept up with growth in international capital markets but that some states may not want the institution to move away from its independence. — AFP

BP can discuss extending April 14 deadline on deal LONDON/MOSCOW: An arbitration panel yesterday upheld an interim injunction blocking a $16 billion share swap between BP and Rosneft, but gave the British oil giant a chance to try to extend an April 14 deadline on the deal. The ruling, at the end of a week of hearings in London, marks another victory for the co-owners of BP’s Russian venture TNK-BP, who argue that a strategic alliance between BP and Rosneft violates TNK-BP’s shareholder agreement. “The arbitral tribunal has ruled that the interim injunction prohibiting closing of the share swap transaction will remain in place until further notice,” BP said in a statement. “However BP is now able to discuss the possibility of an extension of the April 14 deadline under which the share swap agreement will terminate.” TNK-BP’s shareholder-managers, led by CEO Mikhail Fridman, have won every round so far in the legal battle over the BP-Rosneft deal that was announced amid fanfare at the Davos Economic Forum in January. A source close to TNK-BP management and a Rosneft spokesman declined to comment on Friday’s arbitration ruling. In a first decision on March 24, the arbitration tribunal- a

forum for mediating business disputes-upheld an injunction against the BP-Rosneft deal to conduct the share swap and launch an Arctic offshore exploration venture. This, the second round of arbitration, heard a further request brought by BP to consider the share swap as a standalone deal. A possible extension to the deadline on the share swap will keep BP’s hopes of completing the Rosneft deal alive, but will boost the position of Fridman and his associ-

Mozambican economy grew 6.5% in 2010

Canada’s jobless rate dips in March TORONTO: Canada’s unemployment rate dipped for the first time in six months, edging down one-tenth of a point to 7.7 percent in March as fewer people looked for work, Statistics Canada said yesterday. The labor force also shrank, accounting for the minor reduction in the unemployment rate, the reporting agency said. The results were somewhat unexpected considering the strong labor market growth the previous three months and analysts’ predictions of another 20,000 jobs in March. The number was also well off the 38,000 average jobs creation the economy had produced the previous three months. March was a case of part-time jobs being switched for full-time work rather than of the overall movement, the agency said, with the full-time employment rising sharply by 90,600, offset by a 92,100 decline in part-time employees. That brought the gains in fulltime employment to 251,000 over the past 12 months, compared to a 54,000 increase in part-time employment during

the same period. “The numbers were a bit of a disappointment, even with the gain in full-time work... The unemployment rate drop was due to fewer Canadians opting to look for work ... and did not therefore signal a true improvement in the jobs market,” said Avery Shenfeld, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce senior economist. Bank of Montreal deputy chief economist Douglas Porter said the overall report was more neutral than negative. “While the results are no ball of fire, the big increase in full-time jobs, the rise in hours worked, a small uptick in average wages, and the dip in the jobless rate are all consistent with underlying improvement in the labor market,” he said. He said the report will have no impact on Bank of Canada’s interest rate decision next week. Most analysts expect the bank to keep its policy rate at one percent until late May or July, although some private sector banks have been hiking mortgage rates in advance of an official signal. — AP

ates, who want to insert TNK-BP as the vehicle for the BP-Rosneft venture. BP had no further substantial comment on its next move, with a spokesman saying only: “We are considering our options.” Sources close to TNK-BP management said on Thursday that BP had requested a meeting of the company’s board next week. The board has on a number of occasions failed to break the deadlock over the BPRosneft deal. —Reuters

VIENNA: This Feb. 26, 2010 file photo shows the headquarters of Raiffeisen Zentralbank, RZB, in Vienna, Austria. Raiffeisenbank International AG posted a profit of 1.1 billion euro ($1.6 billion) for 2010 as a drop in writedowns helped offset substantial merger costs, the bank announced Friday, April 8, 2011. —AP

MAPUTO: Mozambique’s economy grew 6.5 percent last year, making it one of the best performers in sub-Saharan Africa, the International Monetary Fund said yesterday. But the global lender lamented the slow pace of poverty reduction in a country marked by double-digit inflation and where deadly food riots erupted last year. “Economic growth in 2010, at an estimated 6.5 percent, fell slightly short of expectations but was one of the highest in sub-Saharan Africa,” IMF country representative Victor Duarte Lledo said in the capital Maputo. “Going forward, growth is projected to accelerate and return to levels observed before the global financial crisis.” Inflation was 13.8 percent, due mainly to rising global food costs, according to national figures. Lledo said that “has continued to place a considerable burden on the most vulnerable segments of the population”. Violent protests against bread, electricity and water price increases inSeptember last year killed 14 and wounded hundreds. The government has since heavily subsidized fuel and food, an “important and courageous” decision, said Lledo. The subsidies will be phased out this year to curb the costs to the state, which relies on foreign aid for 46 percent of its revenue. “Notwithstanding Mozambique’s high economic growth over the last two decades, poverty has not declined as fast as in other sub-Saharan African countries,” Lledo said. Over half of the country’s 21 million people live below the poverty line. The IMF encouraged Mozambique to improve labor-intensive sectors like agriculture in its poverty-reduction policies. — AFP



Brent gains ground in oil’s benchmark battle Goldman Sachs says switch to Brent is ‘smart’ for investors SINGAPORE: From Kuala Lumpur to Atlanta, Brent crude is gaining momentum as the global oil pricing reference of choice for producers and consumers, bolstering the Intercontinental Exchange in a battle of benchmarks for the world’s most widely traded commodity. Three months after a blowout in the premium for ICE’s European Brent crude futures over the New York Mercantile Exchange’s West Texas Intermediate (WTI) contract stoked speculation about a shift in liquidity, changes in the way companies hedge have emerged in both the East and the West. Malaysia’s Petronas this week dropped national crude Tapis as the benchmark for its exports in favor of ICE-related dated Brent. The move dealt a blow to the Dubai Mercantile Exchange (DME), part owned by NYMEX, which has pushed its Oman crude contract as a replacement. Two weeks earlier, Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines announced it had swapped out its previous jet fuel hedges based on the WTI contract in favor of Brent, which has more closely reflected global gasoline and jet fuel price moves than the US marker. Trading volume-a measure of a contract’s health and liquidity-tilted toward Brent, although the trend was masked by a slowdown in activity at the end of the first quarter. In the past 20 days, daily turnover in NYMEX crude futures exceeded that of ICE Brent futures by about 165,000 lots, the lowest figure since 2006. On Tuesday, ICE Brent traded more than NYMEX for only the ninth time since 2004, according to Reuters data from the exchanges. If more Asian producers opt to swap the region’s current benchmarks-mostly viewed as disfunctional-for Brent, the balance in the war for benchmark supremacy could swing more in ICE’s favor. “It seems to be part of a

trend,” said Mike Wittner, Americas head of commodities research at Societe Generale. “More and more physical oil market participants, whether they are producers, consumers or refiners, are looking at Brent as perhaps more appropriate to manage their risk.” It is too early to say whether volumes have been permanently sapped from WTI. In January and February, as global traders hit the panic button over unrest and war in Libya, WTI had some of its best days ever, several times exceeding Brent volume by more than 500,000 lots. But that changed dramatically as the quarter wound down. “We have seen Brent volumes surge in the past and even exceed WTI from time to time, only to slip back again,” saidOlivier Jakob, managing director of consultants Petromatrix in Zug, Switzerland. “There has been a lot of debate about which contract is more representative of the international oil market and that will continue.” WTI has sunk to record discounts against Brent, fuelling a discussion on whether Brent better reflects global fundamentals and the turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa. Brent was trading around a 32-month high above $124 yesterday, with WTI around $112. Some say the strategic glut in landlocked US crude has caused the NYMEX market to lose its link with global fundamentals. The disruption in Libyan exports as the country fights a civil war has clearly affected Brent most heavily. But the long-term cause for Brent’s ascent is perhaps further east, where soaring demand from Asia is lifting requirements of Middle East, Mediterranean and West African crude, mostly priced in relation to the European marker. Investors are helping Brent consolidate as a cross-continent marker for at least 70 percent of inter-

RIO DE JANEIRO: Oil company of the Cenpes (PETROBRAS Reserch and Developing Center) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where the oil exploration technology is developed. With an investment of $700 million, the center attracts companies like French Schlumberger and US GE, Halliburton and Baker-Hughes. — AFP

nationally traded crude because the structure of the ICE forward curve yields positive returns when rolling over positions every month, while for WTI the roll-over comes at a loss. “Recently, one of the smartest ideas to enhance index return was to switch WTI for Brent,” Goldman Sachs managing director for fixed income, currency and commodities Arun Assumall told Reuters in Singapore. “Many investors would prefer to be exposed to a more global oil price, such as Brent.” Malaysia’s move to Brent may prompt other Asian producers to follow, including Vietnam and Indonesia, entrenching Brent’s influence in the region

and dampening efforts by the DME to draw Middle Eastern producers towards its Oman futures and away from Platts’ Dubai/Oman assessments. Still, Malaysia’s crude is light and sweet, while much of the exports from the Middle East which the DME is eying are heavier and more sour. That may mean there is enough space for different markers to gain ground for the different grades. Brent is gaining favor as a benchmark for sweet crude in Southeast Asia, but how attractive it would be to price sour Middle East grades is another matter, said John Vautrain, director at Purvin & Gertz energy consultants in Singapore. — Reuters

Big tests lined up for investors

TOKYO: Money traders work under a screen indicating an exchange rate for the US dollar to Japanese yen at a foreign exchanges firm in Tokyo yesterday. The dollar is trading on 85 yen level yesterday following Thursday’s strong aftershock that ripped through northeastern Japan. —AP

LONDON: The second quarter has started with a bang as equities, commodities and other riskier assets have soared. Now come some big tests. First, US companies begin a new earnings reporting season in the coming week and investors will be watching to see not just how the companies have done-probably pretty well-but how things might shape up in the quarters to come. That is not nearly as clear. Second, the International Monetary FundWorld Bank spring meeting should provide a steady stream of updates on the real strength of the world economy, its inflationary pressures and general financial stability. One key for investors, a week after the European Central Bank raised interest rates, will be to glean how

GLOBAL MARKETS WEEKAHEAD much things have “normalized”, prompting more policymakers to accelerate the removal of cheap money. For the time being, however, financial markets are embracing risky assets with something akin to passion. World stocks as measured by MSCI hit a fresh 33-month high yesterday, riding out worries ranging from Japan’s costly earthquake and Portugal seeking a debt bailout to the threat of the budget-less US government shutting down. Emerging market stocks, laggards for much of the first quarter, have been particularly hot, rising as much as 11.6 percent from a March 17 low. Some of this has been due to

increasing investor confidence that growth and inflationary pressure in key emerging economies such as China are being controlled, as exemplified by China’s rate hike during the past week. A test of this will come on Friday, when Chinese first quarter GDP and inflation numbers are due. “We expect Chinese GDP growth to weaken over the course of the year, staging a soft landing,” private bank Sarasin said in a note. “But there is a long way to go.” MSCI’s all-country world stock index has actually risen 103 percent since its financial crisis low in March 2009 — partly prompted by a string of sterling corporate earnings seasons. — Reuters


Kate and William: A ‘So British’ wedding menu (Page 24)

Bob Dylan set for first-ever Vietnam show (Page 28)

The sculpture “Rainforest tree” (43 meters, 141 feet) towers up in the 100-metre high space in the Gasometer in Oberhausen, Germany, Thursday. The giant tree by artist Wolfgang Volz, transforming the industrial colossus into a cathedral of nature, is part of the new UNESCO exhibition “Magic places nature and culture monuments of the world”. Large format photos and replica of culture landmarks shows the wonders of nature and mankind in the giant former steel factory’s gas container. —AP



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Snooki to get her own spin-off show

Urban kicks addiction for good


he diminutive personality is to appear in a new MTV reality series with her fellow ‘Jersey Shore’ housemate JWoww which will follow the pair dealing with “love and life” over 12 episodes. Production on the as-yet untitled program will begin later this year. MTV said in a statement: “The locale may be different, but the friendship is sure to remain the same.” Snooki and JWoww - real names Nicole Polizzi and Jenni Farley - aren’t the only ‘Jersey Shore’ cast members getting their own series. Pauly D is going to be followed by cameras as he attempts to establish himself as a DJ. The 29-year-old star’s 12episode reality show will depict his “jet-setting and often hilarious life on the road as one of the country’s most in-demand DJs”. David Janollari, MTV Head of Programming, said in a statement: “We’re excited to put the spotlight on their lives away from the shore as they pursue their individual passions, careers and relationships. Both series are fun, fresh ways for us to evolve what is an already successful brand for us. “As we continue to reinforce our position as the entertainment destination for the Millennial generation, these two shows fit perfectly into that overall strategy, and we’re thrilled to add them to our diverse lineup.” Both series will air on the network in 2012.

Hasselhoff might marry new girlfriend


he 58-year-old star has been dating Welsh factory worker Hayley Roberts for three months after meeting her during auditions for ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ - on which he is a judge and admits he can see a long-term future with the part-time model. When quizzed on his new romance, David - who has been married twice said: “I knew you would ask that! I’m not sure if I’m in love at the moment. But I like her very much; the whole thing is quite fresh. Actually, I just wanted to take care of my children in the near future und make sure that I’m healthy, just focus on me. It’s hard for me to get suddenly involved with people. “In the future maybe I will be married. I definitely want to be in a solid relationship. I don’t want to spend my time with a lot of women. I appreciate a solid partner by my side, with which I can spend the rest of my life.” The TV personality - whose nickname is ‘The Hoff’ - also revealed he warned blonde beauty Hayley that it wouldn’t be easy for her if she decided to go out with him.

eith Urban says the love of his wife Nicole Kidman and his children has helped him give up his addictions for good. The country singer - who has two daughters, Sunday Rose, two, and three-month-old Faith, with the actress - checked into a clinic to be treated for drug and alcohol abuse just four months after he married the ‘Rabbit Hole’ star in June 2006, and he now realizes the reason he was took substances was to make up for the lack of “intimacy” in his life. He told Good Weekend magazine: “I think I’ve spent my life fearful of intimacy. The result was a feeling of ‘being without’, this hole I tried to fill with all those other things. The only thing that has really filled it has been the love of my wife and our daughters.” Keith wishes he had met

Nicole earlier in his life, but he is now grateful for every day he gets to spend with her. He added: “The way in which it happened has turned out to be divinely inspired.” Keith has previously admitted he was terrified his stint in rehab would destroy his marriage to Nicole, who staged an intervention with some of their friends. The musician - who had been to a treatment clinic on two prior occasions - said: “I thought, ‘Surely let’s give it a few years so we’ve got some solidity, because this kind of thing could tear us apart. This could just destroy us.’ “It was really a profound moment in so many ways. The way in which Nic handled that moment was just perfect ... Everything was just designed, I believe, for that moment to fuse us together.”

Hathaway loved hosting the Oscars


he actress and her co-host James Franco received a great deal of criticism after helming proceedings at this year’s ceremony. But despite her detractors and the sheer scale of the event, Anne still found a lot to enjoy on the night. In an interview on TV show ‘Today’, she said: “The experience was so big. The bigness of it was so overwhelming. But at the same time I felt so much joy to get to be a part of movie history. “You know, the critics were tough. They said we were the worst show ever. I think that qualifies as tough!” The ‘Rio’ star doesn’t dwell on the critics’ comments and instead is proud that no matter what else happens in her career she can always say she hosted the 83rd Academy Awards in 2011. She added: “I think about the Oscars as several different experiences. There was the critical reaction, which was awful. Then there are the people who have been coming up to me since then who stop and say, ‘I thought it was fantastic. I watched it with my family and we were entertained.’ I am very grateful to those people. “And then there’s my memory of it which is, whether it was great or whether it stunk, who knows? I still got to walk out at the Kodak (Los Angeles’ Kodak Theatre) and see those people and someday I’ll get to tell my grandkids about it.” Anne, 28, won’t completely rule out ever taking control of the Oscars again. When asked if she’d return as host, she said: “Why not? I don’t know. Maybe. Perhaps. No.”



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Jay-Z surprised Beyonce


with trip to the Bahamas

is Perry’s ‘number one priority’


he millionaire rapper delighted his wife of three years with the luxury break, ensuring their villa was filled with their favorite white flowers and champagne on ice, as well as laying on candle-lit seafood dinners on the beach. Despite their romantic holiday, the couple were happy to spend time with other people and were particularly happy to find the 29year-old singer’s ‘Austin Powers in Goldmember’ co-star Verne Troyer was staying nearby, so they invited

him to join them for the evening. A source told The Sun newspaper: “They bumped into Verne on a jaunt out one day. They were really surprised to see him. “They had a laugh then he joined them for the rest of the day and dinner that evening.” Once the couple who married in April 2008 - have finished celebrating their anniversary, Beyonce is due to head back to the US to prepare to release her fourth album, reportedly scheduled for late June. It’s not the first time Jay-Z has

lavished expensive gifts on his superstar spouse, reportedly buying her $350,000 worth of designer handbags and purses last Christmas. The 41year-old star was seen in the Hermes boutique on Madison Avenue, in New York City, on Christmas Eve (24.12.10) where he picked out a selection of Birkin bags. The ‘Halo’ singer has also treated her husband, splashing out $2 million on a Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport car for his 41st birthday earlier that month.

Chris Evans will only date women who like his dog


he 26-year-old singer - who married the British comedian in India in October last year -has an “amazing relationship” with her husband and likes to take time out from her busy schedule to focus on him. She said: “My husband is my number one priority. We have an amazing relationship. “It’s important that I’m not always rushing around everywhere too much. I have to take the time to live life and have experiences.” Katy is being taught about British slang from Russell, and she feels a special affinity with the UK now, even picking up more casual terms such as “holiday” and “bin”. She explained in an interview with The Hits radio: “Russell’s teaching me British slang and phrases now. I say, ‘I’m dining out on that one mate,’ and say ‘bin’ instead of ‘trash’ and ‘holiday’ instead of ‘vacation’. “I feel a connection to British people because of my husband. I could be left alone in the UK and get on OK.” Katy is now trying to enjoy her life more while on her worldwide Hello Katy tour because she barely saw the cities she performed in the last time she was on the road. She said: “On the last tour it didn’t feel like I was really living. I’d be in Barcelona and people would be saying, ‘You must be loving it!’ and I was like, ‘All I’ve done is try the tomato soup from room service.’ “


he ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ actor - who has previously romanced Jessica Biel and Christina Ricci - likes to go on unusual first dates, but insists a girl has no chance of romance with him unless she bonds with his beloved mutt East first. Asked where he would take someone on a date, he said: “I’d see how you got on with my dog, East. He’s an American bulldog so he’s big. You’ve got to be able to rough and tumble with him. “Then we’d go for a walk. It doesn’t need to be a hike, I don’t want to break a sweat. Or maybe bowling or ice skating. I don’t like dinner dates I’d rather do something on our feet.” As well as looking for a woman who likes his pooch, Chris, 29, is attracted to ladies who “smell good”. He explained: “I love women who smell good. But I don’t know how to describe it. Maybe fruity? Is that a description?” Despite his Hollywood fame, the actor claims he doesn’t get much attention from the opposite sex. He told Cosmopolitan magazine: “If I’m in a club, women are bolder. But if I’m walking down the street then people leave me alone. I don’t have any crazy fans.”

Julianne Moore wears yoga outfit all day


he 50-year-old actress admits she often keeps her exercise clothes on for the rest of the day after a morning workout and readily accepts it is a “terrible habit”. She said: “I have a terrible habit of staying in my yoga clothes all day. I’ve had girlfriends yell at me. “I have this fantasy that I’m going to dress nicely in the daytime, but it does not seem to manifest.” The ‘Kids Are Alright’ star is also the face of high-end jewellery brand Bulgari, and she admits she is interested in accessories providing they make a statement. In an interview with InStyle magazine, she said: “I like crazy-looking rings with elaborate stones. It’s fun and it’s art. Stuff that’s unusual. “But jewellery is sentimental. Pieces from my husband or my friends - those are meaningful.” Although she enjoys dressing up for red carpet events, Julianne has confessed she prefers making interior design choices over sartorial decisions. She said: “I’m better with my house than with fashion. I like the process, finding the right things, combining colors and textures.”



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Kate and William

A ‘So British’ wedding menu This file picture taken on March 25, 2011 shows a chef of the Royal Household holding a tray of canapes akin to that which is usually served at receptions held at the palace, in the kitchens at Buckingham Palace, in central London. —AFP


teak with whisky? Lamb and mint sauce? Banana pudding? The menu for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton is a closely guarded state secret, but one thing is assured: it will be “so British.” “We wouldn’t really go into any of the specifics for the big day but we always concentrate on showing off the best of British produce - so your bets are safe on that,” said Mark Flanagan, chief chef for Queen Elizabeth II. Over 300 guests have been invited to the meal on the evening of April 29, hours after the couple wed at London’s Westminster Abbey. “I think they’ll have as the first course some sort of salad with a terrine,” Darren McGrady, the personal chef to Princess Diana, Prince William and Prince Harry until Diana’s death in 1997, told AFP. “I know that one of the most popular is the Gleneagles pate, which is like a terrine of smoked trout, smoked salmon and smoked mackerel pate”, explained McGrady, who also goes by nickname “The Royal Chef”. “For the entree, I would see Gaelic steaks, tenderloin steaks in a whisky

mushroom sauce, or an organic lamb from Highgrove”, the farm of Prince Charles, father of William. In 1986, a “rack of lamb” (with mint sauce) was cooked up for the wedding of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson. McGrady, who has also been personal chef to the queen, speculated on “a banana flan, a sort of sugar paste and crËme patisserie inside with sliced bananas and apricot jelly” for dessert. “When I cooked for Prince William, his favorite dessert was banana flan,” recalled McGrady. “Whenever he came over at weekends, he would ask for banana flan. The queen likes it, and he still does.” The un-missable “fruitcake” will then follow. Ordered from famous patisserie Fiona Cairns, who counts ex-Beatle Paul McCartney as a customer, the cake will be adorned by 16 flowers symbolizing, among other things, happiness (rose), tenderness (lily) and marriage (ivy) at the request of Kate Middleton. A true work of art, the cake will be revealed at the reception, which will take place in the middle of the day in Buckingham Palace’s majestic “Picture Gallery”,

under the gaze of Rembrandt, Poussin and Rubens paintings. Next to the wedding cake will be a more humble chocolate cake favored by Prince William, made using the famous McVitie’s “tea biscuits”. “When Prince William was a young boy he would have it for tea and really enjoyed it”, explained Paul Courtney, the pastry chef for McVitie’s. Steaks, fruitcake, tea biscuits: the meal will be “as British as possible”, admitted Darren McGrady. However, as is the tradition, the menu will be written entirely in French. “All the menus are in French, with no translation at all, even for the coming state visit of President Obama,” said the chef, author of “Eating Royally”. “The queen speaks fluent French, it dates back to the days where the whole kitchen was French,” he added. The couple, who want to present a “modern” image, gave in to this custom, but nonetheless instigated a mini-revolution in the palace by skipping the ritual “wedding breakfast,” a sit-down meal traditionally eaten after the service. Kate and William will only have a buffet, as is usual at most British wed-

dings. However, this also reflects the difficulty of seating 600 guests. In contrast, only 120 guests were invited to the “wedding breakfast” of Prince Charles and Princess Diana 30 years ago. The lucky few were treated to “brill in lobster sauce, chicken breasts garnished with lamb mousse and strawberries and Cornish cream all served on golden plates”. Despite the downgraded menu, guests are unlikely to complain with the canapes, to be served in the palace’s 19 opulent “State Rooms”, far exceeding everyday tastes. On the menu will be Hugot & Clement truffle champagne (a 1687 recipe), beet blini, quail eggs with salt and celery and the “very popular croque-monsieur”, suggested Darren McGrady. The whole day takes months of organizing. “We start planning generally for events as far out as six months”, explained Edward Griffiths, deputy master of the Royal Household. Each year, the royal kitchens prepare around 550 meals for 50,000 guests. For “D-Day”, 21 people will be at work in the kitchens. — AFP



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Oliver unbowed after

‘Food Revolution’

snags in LA


urns out Jamie Oliver’s revolution won’t be televised, at least not from Los Angeles school kitchens. The second season of the crusading Brit’s healthy eating reality show, “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution,” started poorly when the city school district barred his cameras, a serious snag for a program that focuses on school lunches. The Los Angeles Unified School District, which previously had a bad experience with an unrelated reality show, more or less treated Oliver as if he was a cast member of “Jersey Shore.” “I think we swam into a minefield,” Oliver told The Associated Press this week. “I’m really disappointed that I couldn’t get in there at all. I’m disappointed that as public servants, they feel they have the right to not be transparent.” But the trouble didn’t end with school officials. There are signs in the first episode (airing on ABC on Tuesday, April 12) that the people of Los Angeles, the city where Fatburger was founded, aren’t fully embracing the revolution either. Only a modest crowd comes out to watch Oliver fill a school bus with a week’s worth of the sugar added to the flavored milk served in LA schools (actually 57 tons of white sand). Oliver dejectedly tells the camera: “This is cold-shoulder stuff.” So did LA prove too much for the chef? Hardly. Oliver remains focused on the multinational healthy food campaign that has consumed him for more than five years. During an interview shoehorned between a late-arriving flight from London and an appearance on David Letterman’s show, the father of

four was passionate and ticked off as he talked about the lousy food fed to too many school children and politicians too short-sighted to tackle the problem. “You only have to affect 2 percent of the population to make radical change,” Oliver said, “and that’s what we’re talking about, really.” In a TV landscape cluttered with suddendeath cook-offs and flamboyant chefs, Oliver’s latest show has an unusual recipe for success, asking strangers to do what’s good for them. For the second season of “Food Revolution,” that entails Oliver jousting with school bureaucrats, trying to help parents and kids make better choices and lobbying for healthier food at a local hamburger joint. It’s not easy. In one scene, the fast-food operator goes wide-eyed when Oliver suggests he make burgers with grassfed, black angus beef that costs $1.30 per 6-ounce patty (Oliver said he eventually was able to get the price down to 65 cents). Oliver had better luck in Huntington, W. Va., where he first took his healthy food crusade. At least there he was allowed into the schools. But there were bumpy moments, too, as he tangled with reluctant school officials and kids who preferred pizza and chicken nuggets to his fresh-made coleslaw. A Huntington school district spokesman later said that though the show was an ordeal, the process was worth it. Oliver calls his first US stop in the food revolution a success. “The dream was to do what we did. And eventually we pulled off everything we wanted to pull off,” he said. “In

LA, you know, it’s a completely different kettle of fish. I was banned from every school before I even touched down on the airport.” Oliver says all he wanted to do was see where the food for 650,000 school children came from. Oliver briefly found his way into a preparatory high school run by a nonprofit under contract with LAschools, but was booted once the district found out. Barred from schools, he asked parents and kids to bring school food samples to him. Unwrapping the plastic from a breakfast pastry, Oliver doesn’t try to hide his disdain: “We’re not happy, No?” Oliver’s LA experience stands in contrast to his initial campaign to clean up school lunches in his home country, where his allies included thenPrime Minister Tony Blair. Oliver suggests the fight was easier there in part because the British media is more aggressive in shining a light on the dark side of the food industry. It seemed easier to get a critical mass of British parents fed up. As for Los Angeles, Oliver acknowledges he also was less effective in the largely Hispanic areas he worked because he does not speak Spanish. He said he had a harder time convincing parents that they could make a change. Still, plans to go back to Los Angeles later this month. He wants to check in with families he worked with. Also, a new school superintendent starts later this month and Oliver, ever the optimist, wants to meet with him. Maybe they can start a dialogue, or maybe something more. “I’d be lying if I told you there was a big master plan,” he said. —AP

Longoria shows her skills in new cookbook E

va Longoria’s character on “Desperate Housewives” isn’t exactly domestic, but in real life the actress says she “tries to cook every day.” She’s released a cookbook called “Eva’s Kitchen: Cooking with Love for Family and Friends.” It includes family recipes and her own go-to dishes such as chicken tortilla soup. The 36-year-old actress, who plays a former model and the youngest of the housewives on Wisteria Lane on the ABC nighttime soap opera, is a big cookbook collector and had a clear vision of the beautiful photos and stories she wanted with her own book. Compiling the dishes into cookbook recipes, though, was at

times challenging, she said Thursday. “I’m a natural cooker, and I cook by instinct so if I want salt I’ll put salt and if I don’t I don’t, so I felt really bad telling people to put, you know, a quarter-cup of cheese if they didn’t want it, you know, I’m like, ‘Or not! You don’t have to!”‘ she said. “I just felt really bossy so that was really hard for me because I always find cooking so natural.” Longoria’s advice for those who aren’t kitchen naturals is to get your timing right , especially with breakfast. “People tend to make eggs first, and eggs should be the last things you make because they’re the fastest,” she said. “You should always make your bacon or your biscuits first because they

can sit. Then you make your hotstove items.” Her must-have ingredient is lemon. “I put lemon in everything, on everything,” she says with a laugh. “It’s really great for sauces, for dressings, for fish, for meat. I love lemon. I always have fresh lemons in the house. Also I have an herb garden so I have cilantro, I have mint, I have basil, and it’s always great to just pick those off right from the garden and put them into food.” Longoria, who filed for divorce from San Antonio Spurs basketball player Tony Parker last year, says she still has many other dishes and crockpot recipes that didn’t make it into the cookbook In this April 4 file photo, Eva Longoria attends a and she’d like to write another book signing for her cookbook “Eva’s Kitchen” at Borders Books in New York. —AP one in the future.— AP



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lass artist Dale Chihuly says his well of inspiration never runs dry, even after some 40 years pushing the boundaries of his medium. “Just working with the material brings forth a lot of ideas, in both the glass blowing and in working with the glass after it’s been blown,” Chihuly, 69, said on the sidelines of his major new exhibit at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. “Chihuly: Through the Looking Glass,” 12 installations that live up to their Alice in Wonderland billing, opens on April 10 and will run through August in the recently opened Art of the Americas wing. The exhibit features a mix of new and early works from Chihuly, perhaps the foremost artist now working in glass and, with his distinctive curly hair and eye patch, certainly the most recognizable. The installations contain some 7,000 individual pieces, including Mille Fiori (Italian for “a thousand flowers”), a 58-foot-long (17-meter) installation displayed in a darkened room. Neodymium Reeds on Logs is a series of tall, purple glass rods set against freshly-cut Maine birch, while Persian Ceiling evokes a madly colored seascape. The 42-foot-tall Lime Green Icicle Tower, installed in a high-ceilinged courtyard, weighs some 10,000 pounds (4,545 kgs) and comprises over 2,300 individual pieces of glass. “I tend to do things on a huge scale because it’s exciting. I like to push things in new and different ways,” Chihuly said. “My philosophy is: when one is good, a dozen is better.” “Through the Looking Glass” was some 18 months in the planning and conception before arriving in Boston in six giant containers for a three-week assembly marathon. The works were created in Chihuly’s two facilities in Seattle-the Boathouse, the “hotshop” where the glass

pieces are blown, and the Ballard studio, which has 25-foot ceilings to help put large installations together. Chihuly said he doesn’t try to anticipate how viewers will respond to his creations, but hopes his work will lift their spirits. “People respond to things in a different way. If you could record what people were thinking, there would be a tremendous variation,” he said. The artist has strong ties to New England. He received his Master of Fine Arts degree from the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, where he later taught for more than a decade. Navajo blankets exhibited at the MFA back in 1975 inspired the artist to incorporate more Native American imagery in his glass-works. Chihuly’s own blanket and basket collection is the backdrop to the exhibit’s Northwest Room display. Over the years, though, Chihuly’s inspirations have become less literal. “You see things, you hear things ... in the beginning I would be influenced by something like a basket, or a blanket. It’s not that way anymore.” Chihuly often has more than a dozen projects in various stages of completion-a manic schedule that he pulls off with the aid of a tight-knit team. “If you’re going to make glass, you really have to be a team person,” he said. Chihuly has not actually blown glass since dislocating his shoulder in 1979. In his downtime Chihuly enjoys going to the movies. Asked to name a recent film that made an impact, the first to spring to mind was “Inglourious Basterds,” the 2009 Quentin Tarantino film about Jewish-American soldiers in World War Two. Could the movie find its way into a Chihuly installation some time? “I imagine it’s in there somehow,” he said. “Just waking up in the morning brings forth a lot of ideas.” — Reuters

Glass artist Dale Chihuly



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Paris exhibit gives

glimpse of androgynous Dogon art


ith its full beard and elongated breasts, worn smooth by the hands of thousands of women praying for fertility, an androgynous wooden statue is the centrepiece of a new Paris show of native West African art. “Dogon” at the Musee du quai Branly ( from April 5 to July 24 displays more than 300 wooden sculptures - statues, masks, and carved bas-relief granary doors of the Dogon people who live in eastern Mali. Many sculptures in the show, some carbon-dated to the 10th century, depict hermaphrodite figues with both male and female features and are believed to play a role in fertility rituals. “The Dogon believe it is the reunion between man and woman that makes the perfect being,” Helene Leloup, retired dealer in African art and organizer of the exhibition, told

Reuters. Featuring pieces from the Quai Branly’s own collection as well as from the Paris Dapper museum, the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn museum and private collections, the exhibition brings together Dogon woodcarvings as well as art from neighboring ethnic groups in eastern Mali. Statues include horsemen, mother and child carvings and figures with their hands in the air, in a supplication for rain. Helene Joubert, head of the Quai Branly museum’s sub-Saharan African art section, told Reuters that the many androgynous figures are typical of Dogon art and illustrate an obsession with the distinction between the sexes and the elimination of ambiguity between the two. Anthropologists from France, the colonial ruler of most of West Africa, have long studied the Dogon and carted away hundreds of sculptures,


especially during the 1930s, ahead of the opening of the Musee de l’Homme in Paris. Many of the statues in the Quai Branly exhibition are centuries old and were carved by pre-Dogon people. The museum also displays giant Dogon masks, carved pillars from meeting houses and the doors as well as the intricate wooden locks to their millet granaries. Hardwood stools are a staple of Dogon art. Each has eight caryatid figures supporting the seatthe eight mythical ancestors, four males and their female twins, of the Dogon creation myth. The Dogon live along the Bandiagara escarpment, a 200 km (124 miles) stretch of cliffs in Mali running roughly parallel to the Niger river. A mainly animist tribe numbering about 400,000 to 800,000 today, the Dogon fled islamisation in the coastal provinces and built houses in and around the sandstone cliffs that

Lifestyle India Fashion week

A Kate Middleton ‘Princess Catherine’ doll is pictured at Hamley’s toy store in central London, yesterday.—AFP Models display creations by Indian designer Rajesh Pratap Singh during the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion week, in New Delhi, India, Thursday. —AP photos

overlook the wide savannah plains towards Burkina Faso. A Unesco World Heritage site, the Bandiagara is a day’s travel from two other Heritage sites: the city of Djenne with its huge adobe mosque, and the desert town of Timbuktu. Experts say the growth of adventure tourism in Mali has fuelled a woodcarving cottage industry and that Dogon sculpture, now dissociated from its original religious function, increasingly finds its way to African art galleries in the West. Many of the visitors to the Quay Branly museum in the first week of the exhibit were people who have traveled in Mali and have brought back Dogon artwork from there. “It is great to see the origins of Dogon art,” said Michel Kadeyan, who said he had bought Dogon masks, a door and wooden lock on a trip through Dogon country. — Reuters



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Fergie joins ‘X Factor’ contenders as producers squabble

Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld poses with the limited edition of Diet Coke bottles he has created during a party in Paris on Thursday. The three designs will reach Europe first this month, and that will hit American stores in June 2011 and represent the second collaboration between Lagerfeld and Diet Coke. —AP

Bob Dylan set for first-ever Vietnam show


lack Eyed Peas singer Fergie is in the running for a judge’s spot on the upcoming US version of “The X Factor,” but creator Simon Cowell said Thursday that producers were still juggling dozens of names for the TV talent show. Latin singer Gloria Estefan may also have put herself in the running by turning up unexpectedly at open auditions in Miami and spending hours mentoring some of the thousands of hopefuls looking for a spot on the show, Cowell said. So far only the acid-tongued Briton, and record executive Antonio “LA” Reid have been announced as judges on “The X Factor”, which debuts on Fox in the fall with a $5 million prize for the winner and a record contract. Big names ranging from singers Jessica Simpson and Mariah Carey to Cowell’s old “American Idol” sparring partner Paula Abdul have been mentioned in recent months. But not final choice has been made for the one or two remaining judging spots, nor for the two hosts. “We are still having nightly arguments with everyone, trying to get everyone to agree. If you asked everyone involved on this show who they would like on the panel, you would have 25 different opinions,” Cowell told reporters. “It does show publicly our complete and utter indecisiveness,” he said. Cowell confirmed media reports that Fergie, who has a solo career as well as being part of the Black Eyed Peas, is a possible contender. “Her name was put forward. But like with a lot of other people we have spoken to, we have to check out everyone’s availability. There is lot of time you have to put into this show. It is not a 2 or 3 day a week job,” he said. The “X Factor” judges will play a major role in mentoring and preparing contestants on the singing show. Cowell said that Estefan may have been auditioning for a role on the panel when she turned up out of the blue in Miami on Thursday “and apparently did a fantastic job” helping contestants. More than 20,000 people lined up for initial auditions in front of producers in Los Angeles last month. Cowell said that those unable to make it to major US cities would be able to make video recordings in high-tech audition booths in cities including Honolulu, Anchorage and Kansas City. — Reuters


egendary American musician Bob Dylan, whose songs became anthems of the 1960s anti-Vietnam War era, blows into Ho Chi Minh City tomorrow for his first-ever concert in the communist nation. While the symbolism is stark for members of the West’s ageing “counterculture” generation, many in youthful Vietnam have never heard of the man who wrote “Blowin’ in the Wind” and other songs of protest and struggle. “I don’t know who he is,” said Tran Trung Duc, 21, a Hanoi IT student. Dylan’s music helped to shape a Western generation that was in conflict with authority. But about half of Vietnam’s population is under the age of 30 and has no memory of the years of war with the United States. “They don’t have any political connection with the era in which Bob Dylan became famous,” said Chuck Searcy, a Vietnam War veteran who has lived in the country since 1995. Dylan will play in Vietnam’s largest and most-westernized city, the former Saigon, as part of an Asia-Pacific tour marking 50 years since his first major performance on April 11, 1961. He heads to Vietnam from Shanghai, where he performs following a long-awaited China debut in Beijing on Wednesday. After reportedly banning a concert by Dylan last year, China agreed he could perform if his songs were vetted by censors. Vietnam’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, Nguyen Phuong Nga, could not say whether Dylan’s songs would have to be reviewed by the Vietnamese authorities. Washington and the European Union this week expressed concern over human rights and free expression in Vietnam after a high-profile dissident was sentenced to seven years in prison for anti-state propaganda activities, including advocating an end to one-party rule. In Beijing, also criticized by activists and

Western governments over rights, Dylan did not play two politically-charged songs that are among his most well-known: “The Times They Are A-Changin” and “Blowin’ in the Wind”. In the former song he says: “The order is rapidly fadin’, And the first one now will later be last.” The second song asks: “Yes, ‘n’ how many years can some people exist, Before they’re allowed to be free?” The foreign ministry’s Nga said Dylan’s concert was being eagerly anticipated in the country of 86 million. “I trust that the concert will be held very successfully”, she said. Since poverty-stricken and isolated Vietnam began to embrace the free market 25 years ago it has developed rapidly and become increasingly integrated with the rest of the world. Searcy sees the Dylan concert as part of that process. “I think it’s... just part of a continuing awakening and dialogue at the international level that the Vietnamese very much support and encourage,” he said. For the Vietnamese, Dylan’s visit is significant because he is a major international artist, not because he is associated with the anti-war movement, he added. “I think that’s probably more important to Americans and to foreigners,” Searcy said. Dylan’s concert comes after two muchhyped shows by nineties boy band “Backstreet Boys”, who reportedly drew about 30,000 fans last month. —AFP

American music legend Bob Dylan performs on stage during his concert in Shanghai on April 8, 2011. —AFP



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In this photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, Mickey and Minnie dance during a celebration held for the start of construction work on the Shanghai Disneyland in Shanghai, east China yesterday. —AP

Magic Kingdom comes to the Middle Kingdom W

alt Disney Co broke ground on its long-awaited Shanghai Disneyland theme park in China’s financial hub yesterday, banking on new attractions to draw millions of visitors and boost its profits in the region. The Mickey and Minnie Mouse duo kicked off the fanfare dressed in traditional Chinese garb to a cacophony of drums, launching a Magic Kingdom-style park tailored specifically to China. Disney’s first theme park in mainland China and its third in Asia will cost an initial 24.5 billion yuan ($3.7 billion). Disney has long sought to build in Shanghai, a wealthy city of about 20 million that is ringed by the prosperous Yangtze River Delta, home to tens of millions more potential visitors. “Our Shanghai resort will be a world-class family vacation destination that combines classic Disney characters and storytelling with the uniqueness and beauty of China,” Robert Iger, chief executive of Walt Disney Co, said in a statement. “Working with our Chinese partners, the

Shanghai Disney Resort will be both authentically Disney and distinctly Chinese,” he said. The park will include an interactive castle unique to Shanghai Disneyland. Situated in an eastern suburb of Shanghai, the park aims to attract 7.3 million visitors annually when it opens in about five years, the Shanghai government has said. An additional 4.5 billion yuan will be invested to build other aspects of the resort, including hotels and retail, dining and entertainment. The investment amounts will be split between Disney and the Shanghai Shendi Group, with Disney holding 43 percent of the shares of the owner companies and government-backed Shendi holding the remaining 57 percent. A joint venture management company will also be formed, with Disney having a 70 percent stake and Shanghai Shendi Group holding a 30 precent stake. Disney’s theme park foray into mainland China is a long-awaited move as the entertainment giant seeks to expand its interna-

tional footprint in an effort to offset soft growth back home. The start of construction of Shanghai Disneyland is the culmination of years of negotiation with China. Last November, Disney signed an agreement with the Shanghai company to build the park. Analysts said the location of the park in Shanghai is ideal, as a number of wealthy cities lie around the Yangtze Delta region where Shanghai is located. “Disney has a huge opportunity in China. You’ve got about 80 million people living within a fivehour train ride of Shanghai,” said Shaun Rein, managing director of Shanghai-based China Market Research. Disney does not have a television channel in China, where the media industry is tightly regulated. However, it runs several English training schools for children across Shanghai and Beijing. Disney opened Hong Kong Disneyland in 2005 and suffered years of slow attendance growth and net losses. In the park’s 2010 fiscal year, it suffered a net loss of

HK$718 million ($92.4 million). Rein said the problem with the Hong Kong park has been that it was too small and lacked rides. Given that an average Chinese person did not grow up watching Disney characters such as Cinderella and Snow White, the characters lacked emotional resonance with visitors. “The Hong Kong Disneyland didn’t seem like it had size and the Chinese like the biggest of everything,” he said, adding that his primary worry is that the Shanghai Disneyland would not be big enough. “Everybody in China is waiting for Disney to come here... It’s an event that everybody is just so excited for it to happen and so if it doesn’t match expectations, it will make people upset,” Rein said. The total size of the Shanghai park will be bigger than the Hong Kong park, which is undergoing expansion. Hong Kong Disneyland said it drew 5.2 million visitors in 2010, an increase of 13 percent, and that more than 40 percent of visitors were from the mainland. —Reuters



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Facebook set to fortify partnership with media SAN DIEGO: Facebook is looking to strengthen its relationship with the news media and has already helped boost traffic to news websites, a top executive told journalists Thursday. Facebook’s “like” buttons have become ubiquitous since they launched a year ago. News sites, blogs and other media outlets sometimes use the less enthusiastic “recommend,” but the effect is the same - people share stories with their friends on Facebook, and those friends click on the links to read the stories. The company credits those links for a fourfold increase in referrals to news sites. Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said such engagement can help an industry that is looking for more ways

to boost online traffic and revenue. She said Facebook wants to help by providing the technological tools to share content. “In a world where people are spending so much time on Facebook ... we want news to be a big part of that,” Sandberg told the American Society of News Editors at its annual convention in San Diego. She said she uses Facebook for two things - connecting with family and friends and getting her daily news. Facebook recently unveiled a Facebook page for journalists who want to use social media as a tool in their reporting and source building around the globe. The company also plans to host workshops to teach

journalists how to take advantage of the social networks. Sandberg said NPR has used social networks to tell readers what’s happening in real time. Journalists can also use it in their search for people to be interviewed for news stories, by sending out requests asking if anyone has information on an event or developing news story. In a separate announcement earlier Thursday, Facebook said it wants to help others build startups more easily and efficiently by sharing the technology behind the servers that power its massive online social network. In turn, it hopes to benefit from others’ innovations, too. — AP

‘Skype school’ helps kids learn in Indian village Skype ‘brings’ best teachers to remote town NEW DELHI: The electricity keeps cutting out, the Internet connection is crackly and the speakers don’t always work, but Santosh Kumar knows that 20 pupils far away in eastern India are relying on him. Once a week, Kumar uses the Skype computer program to teach math to children in Chamanpura, a poor village in the struggling state of Bihar, 600 miles (970 kilometers) from his two-storey house in the suburbs of New Delhi. The free Internet service allows the class to see, via a projector, Kumar’s tutorial which includes an animated tale about a greedy priest and a wily countryman to teach the students about numbers and the concept of infinity. “The first time I did this, they were really excited by the technology, now they don’t care,” Kumar said. “It’s normal to them.” Kumar, a successful 34-year-old engi-

neer, grew up in Chamanpura village before battling his way to a place at the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and on to a wellpaid job in the Indian capital. “It’s an uphill task to bring education to villages,” he said, recalling his teenage years when he would cycle eight miles to college in a nearby town. Kumar’s cousin Chandrakant Singh, also now a well-paid engineer, decided during a trip back to the village to set up a school for children aged between 6 and 12. “I wanted to provide a world-class education to students in the remotest place on Earth,” said Singh, who remembers studying at night under the dim light of a kerosene lamp. Unfazed by the fact that Chamanpura has no mains electricity, or by the refusal of experienced teachers to travel to Bihar, Singh approached his friends for donations

NEW DELHI: This photo shows volunteer mentor at the Chaitanya Gurukul Trust, Santosh Kumar, conducting an online class from New Delhi for students in a remote village in Bihar to bring education to the Indian village. — AFP

to fund the Chaitanya Gurukul boarding school. He installed two power generators and organized training for 16 local teachers before hitting on the idea of using Skype to connect students with professionals across India. “The world’s greatest teachers don’t want to go there, so I thought maybe we could use technology to help our students learn faster,” he said. The school opened its doors in April 2010, offering admission to 500 students, 50 of whom pay nothing, with the rest charged according to their parents’ ability to afford fees. The Skype lessons take place in the evenings after the day’s regular classes and at weekends. Kumar was on board from the beginning, adamant that he could help the students and give them more “clarity” on what they learnt in class.”Some of them were curious, others got intimidated, I had to work with them to rid them of their fear,” he said, pointing out many of them had never seen a computer before. “Now it’s like television for them, it entertains them and hopefully they learn something,” he said during another power outage. “The technical problems happen often. It’s extremely frustrating but we carry on.” During his math lesson, some students appeared engrossed by the video, while others chattered inaudibly in the back rows. But they snapped to attention during the question session, with everyone answering correctly. “It’s a very different way of teaching, it helps me remember what I learn better than if I just read it,” Anmol Kumar Jaiswal, 11, told AFP via the two-way Skype link. Pragya Parashar, a 12-year-old girl sitting behind Jaiswal nodded in agreement. “I like these lessons, it helps me understand things better,” she said shyly. “I also want to become an engineer like my teacher.” — AFP

US trains activists worldwide in phone, Internet protection WASHINGTON: The United States is training thousands of cell phone and Internet pro-democracy campaigners worldwide to evade security forces in what it calls a “cat-and-mouse game” with authoritarian governments. The US government is sponsoring efforts to help activists in Arab and other countries gain access to technology that circumvents government firewalls, secures telephone text and voice messages, and prevents attacks on websites. “This is sort of a cat-and-mouse game and governments are constantly developing new techniques to go after critics, to go after dissenters,” said Michael Posner, the assistant US secretary of state for human rights and labor. “We are trying to stay ahead of the curve and trying to basically provide both technology, training, and diplomatic support to allow people to freely express their views.” Posner told a small group of reporters that the theme of Internet freedom will be “peppered” throughout the State Department’s annual report on human rights for 194 countries that is scheduled for release on Friday. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is campaigning hard for freedoms of expression, assembly and association online-what she calls the world’s town square or coffee house of the 21st century. The chief US diplomat has said the protests in Egypt and Iran fueled by Facebook, Twitter and YouTube reflected “the power of connection technologies as an accelerant of political, social and economic change.” The US government, Posner said, has budgeted $50 million in the last two years to develop new technologies to help activists protect themselves from arrest and prosecution by authoritarian governments. And it has organized training sessions for 5,000 activists in different parts of the world. A session held in the Middle East about six weeks ago gathered activists from Tunisia, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon who returned to their countries with the aim of training their colleagues there. “They went back and there’s a ripple effect,” Posner said. State Department officials said one of the new technologies under development is the “panic button,” which allows activists to erase contact lists on their cell phones if they are arrested. “If you can get the panic button that wipes that (list) clean before they get locked up, you’re saving lives,” said Posner. The new technology has not yet been made available to pro-democracy campaigners but it will prove useful in places like Syria, where the authorities simply go out and arrest activists who use their mobile phones. The State Department said it has already funded efforts by private firms, mainly from the United States, to develop a dozen different technologies to circumvent government censorship firewalls. “One of them has been very successful in Iran. —AFP



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Finland’s ‘Angry Birds’ shoot to global fame ‘Nonsensical little game’ set for animated television series? HELSINKI: Spectators fall silent as Jonas Koivula slingshots a boomeranging parrot over enemy lines in a devastating flanking maneuver during Finland’s national Angry Birds championship finals. Cheers erupt seconds later as the 19-year-old is declared undisputed champion of Angry Birds, a mobile phone game that has shot to pop culture stardom and launched a small Finnish software company into worldwide fame. “I’ve only been playing for a little over a month. I don’t even have it on my own phone,” Koivula admits during the competition in Helsinki. But millions of other mobile users have downloaded the now-famous game and are tapping away at their devices, catapulting cartoonish birds into absurd fortresses built by little green pigs who have stolen the birds’ eggs. When game developer Rovio released Angry Birds onto Apple’s iPhone in 2009 no one at the company expected this nonsensical little game would become the most popular paid iPhone application in 61 countries, with more than 100 million downloads for a range of devices. “In 2009 we thought that 400,000 (downloads) was our best-case scenario,” 31-yearold Rovio co-founder Niklas Hed tells AFP. But the game quickly proved to be a monster hit thanks to its brilliant rhythm and levels that are challenging yet never so difficult that a player quits out of frustration, says Finnish mobile games expert Tuija Linden. “When Angry Birds first came out I played like I was obsessed,” admits Linden, the editor-in-chief of Finnish games magazine Pelit. “You always know that at some point you’ll get through the tough level and then it will get easier again ... it’s never let me down,” she tells AFP. The rise of Rovio is the stuff of programmer legends: Hed and two friends formed a company straight out of university, toiling for a few years in obscurity until they hit upon a simple, addictive game that instantly became a hit. Hed says Rovio’s colossal success with

HELSINKI: In this picture, one of the company’s “Angry Bird” characters is displayed at the company offices in Espoo. — AFP

Angry Birds is down to a savvy initial distribution strategy via Apple’s iPhone as well as the fact that the concept capitalizes on mobile phone users’ desire to fill up short periods of time with easy fun. “With Angry Birds you get instant gratification in 40 seconds,” says Hed. The game has inspired a host of pop culture tributes, including American talk show host Conan O’Brien’s construction of a huge liveaction Angry Birds game and Israeli comedy show Eretz Nehederet’s skit about failed peace talks between pigs and birds. Even former Guns’n’Roses guitarist Slash was prompted to tweet last December, “Angry Birds is like a drug, only cheaper.” Instead of working on new games, Rovio is now in full-time Angry Birds franchising mode with an ever-increasing merchandise line, plans for an animated television series, rumors of a feature-length film, and a constant stream of new game updates to keep customers hooked.

“Many other games came and went from the top 10, but Angry Birds just stuck there like a fly you can’t swat away,” says Hed. It’s even become a matter of national pride. Finland’s government, for example, invited Rovio chief executive Mikael Hed, Niklas Hed’s cousin, to speak with visiting French Minister for European Affairs Laurent Wauquiez in January as an example of Finnish innovation in the IT sector. He taught the visiting minister how to slingshot his first steely-eyed red bird into a pig fortress. “My children play this, but I’ve never done so myself,” Wauquiez said, as he launched his second, third and fourth bird. Back at the Angry Birds competition in Helsinki, new Finnish champ Koivula says he really has no secret to playing well. I just play it sometimes in the evening when I have nothing else to do,” he says, noting however, “this past week I probably played more than usual.” — AFP

Russian security service ‘wants to ban Skype, Gmail’

HANOVER: Head of the Federal Chancellery Ronald Pofalla (left) and French Prime Minister Francois Fillon hold a small android robot as they tour the fair grounds at the Hannover Messe 2011 technology fair. According to the organizers, exhibitors from 65 countries will present their latest products during the trade show. France is this year’s partner country. — AFP

MOSCOW: The Russian security service is proposing to ban Skype, Hotmail, and Gmail as their “uncontrolled use” may threaten Russia’s security, a service official said during a government meeting yesterday. The Federal Security Service (FSB) is “increasingly concerned” by the mass use of these services, which use foreign-made encryption technology, said head of the FSB’s information and special communication centre Alexander Andreyechkin, RIA Novosti agency reported. “Uncontrolled usage of these services may lead to massive threat to Russia’s security,” he said at a meeting of the government’s communication and technology committee. Control of Internet traffic through these services is done from servers outside Russia, and so they are often used by extremist organizations, Andreyechkin was reported as saying before the meeting continued without

the press. Deputy Minister of Communications Ilya Massukh later said that recommendations regarding regulation of mass usage of encryption technology will be given to the government by October 1. The FSB would like to ban these services in Russia because “security authorities cannot access them,” Massukh was reported as saying. The secretive FSB, which is a successor to the Soviet KGB, has denounced the popular nonRussian services in the past. Earlier this year a leaked memo from Sverdlovsk regional government asked municipalities to ban Skype for work use and use only Russian programs for email communication, citing FSB analysis of foreign programs. Russian security services have wide-reaching powers but remain notoriously closed from any public scrutiny, including of their budget. — AFP

Too real is too creepy in new Disney animation LOS ANGELES: Computer animation has a problem: When it gets too realistic, it starts creeping people out. Most recently, moviegoers complained about the near-realistic depiction of humans in Disney’s 3-D flick “Mars Needs Moms.” A theory called the “uncanny valley” says people tend to feel attracted to inanimate objects with human traits, the way a teddy bear or a rag doll seems cute. People’s affection grows as an object looks more human. But if it becomes too human-looking, people suddenly become repulsed. Instead of seeing what is similar, we notice the flaws, and the motionless eyes or awkward movements suddenly make the viewer uncomfortable. “Mars” may have plunged to the bottom of this valley of fear. “People always comment on things feeling strangely dead around the eyes,” said Chuck Sheetz, an animation director of “The Simpsons” and a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. “If it gets too literal, it starts to feel false or has a strange effect.” Skin texture that is slightly off can especially leave people feeling unsettled, said Patrick Markey, a psychologist and director of Villanova University’s Interpersonal Research Laboratory. The near-realistic animation style championed by producer Robert Zemeckis uses motion-capture technology, where actors are covered with dots and skin suits and have their performances captured on computer. The dots provide the frame, and the rest is filled in with computerized graphics. “Mars” creates humans that are more realistic and detailed than Zemeckis’ earlier attempts in such movies as “Beowulf” and “The Polar Express” which also were criticized for inviting this discomfort. The greater detail might have made things worse. Doug McGoldrick, who took his two daughters to see the movie, said the faces of the main characters “were just wrong.” Their foreheads were lifeless and plastic-looking, “like they used way too much botox or something,” said the 41-year-old photographer in the Chicago suburb of River Forest, Illinois. Marc Kelley, a 32-year-old pastor in Allegan, Michigan, who went with his two young children, said he found the renditions of characters “all annoying in their own way.” Indeed, when the mother of the main character Milo mentioned the word “zombies” at the start of the movie, it conjures up a feeling that the characters themselves are undead. Animation experts say the key to success is to be only authentic enough to tug at the viewer’s heart strings. The best example of this was “Avatar,” the 2009 blockbuster that made $2.8 billion in theaters worldwide. The humanoid, but blue-bodied Na’vi were alien enough not to trigger people’s inner rejection mechanism. —AP

TV listings

SATURDAY, APRIL 9, 2011 14:30 15:25 16:15 16:40 17:10 17:35 18:00 18:50 19:15 19:40 20:30 20:55 21:20 21:45 22:10 23:00 23:25 23:50

00:45 Untamed And Uncut 01:40 Dogs/Cats/Pets 101 02:35 Venom Hunter With Donald Schultz 03:30 Pit Bulls And Parolees 04:25 Crime Scene Wild 05:20 The Most Extreme 06:10 Extraordinary Dogs 06:35 Cats Of Claw Hill 07:00 Lemur Street 07:25 The Really Wild Show 07:50 Pandamonium 08:40 Breed All About It 09:10 Dogs 101 10:05 Michaela’s Animal Road Trip 11:00 Animal Precinct 11:55 Wildlife SOS 12:20 Wildlife SOS 12:50 Animal Cops Miami 13:45 RSPCA: On The Frontline 14:10 Vet On The Loose 14:40 The Most Extreme 15:30 Planet Wild 16:00 The Really Wild Show 16:30 Growing Up...: Clouded Leopard 17:25 Dogs/Cats/Pets 101 18:20 Venom Hunter With Donald Schultz 19:15 Michaela’s Animal Road Trip 20:10 Dogs/Cats/Pets 101 21:05 Austin Stevens Adventures 22:00 Into The Lion’s Den

00:00 00:30 01:15 02:10 03:00 03:30 04:00 04:30 04:50 05:10 05:25 05:30 05:40 05:45 06:05 06:25 06:40 06:45 06:50 07:00 07:20 07:40 07:55 08:00 08:15 08:20 08:40 09:00 09:15 09:20 09:35 09:40 10:10 10:40 11:25 12:15 12:45 13:15 14:10 15:40 16:30 17:15 17:45 18:15 19:10 20:00 20:45 21:15 21:45 22:15 22:45 23:35 Crisps

00:15 00:40 01:10 01:55 02:45 03:30 03:55 04:20 05:05

Dinnerladies The Weakest Link Casualty Robin Hood Eastenders Doctors Dinnerladies Me Too Tweenies The Roly Mo Show The Adventures Of Spot The Large Family Buzz And Tell Me Too Tweenies The Roly Mo Show Buzz And Tell The Adventures Of Spot The Large Family Me Too Tweenies The Roly Mo Show The Adventures Of Spot The Large Family Buzz And Tell Me Too Tweenies The Roly Mo Show The Adventures Of Spot The Large Family Buzz And Tell Dinnerladies Dinnerladies The Weakest Link Full Circle With Michael Palin Doctors Eastenders Casualty Dinnerladies Full Circle With Michael Palin The Weakest Link Doctors Eastenders Casualty Full Circle With Michael Palin The Weakest Link Doctors Green Green Grass Green Green Grass Only Fools And Horses Mutual Friends Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of

Great British Menu Great British Menu Antiques Roadshow Antiques Roadshow Eating With The Enemy Cooked Chuck’s Day Off How Not To Decorate Daily Cooks Challenge

The Hours on OSN Movies Festival 05:30 06:20 07:10 08:05 08:35 09:05 09:25 09:45 10:10 10:35 11:20 11:45 12:35 13:20 14:05 14:50 15:50 16:40 17:10 17:35 18:25 19:10 19:40 20:05 20:50 23:00 23:45

00:40 01:35 02:05 02:30 03:25 04:20 05:15 05:40 06:05 07:00 07:50

Antiques Roadshow Fantasy Homes In The City Saturday Kitchen 2007/08 Daily Cooks Challenge Daily Cooks Challenge Glamour Puds Trish’s Mediterranean Kitchen What Not To Wear Trish’s Mediterranean Kitchen Fantasy Homes In The City What Not To Wear Antiques Roadshow Fantasy Homes In The City Design Star Design Star Cash In The Attic USA Eating With The Enemy Cooked Chuck’s Day Off How Not To Decorate Eating With The Enemy Cooked Chuck’s Day Off How Not To Decorate Great British Menu Design Star Design Star

Dirty Jobs Destroyed In Seconds Destroyed In Seconds Ultimate Survival Man Made Marvels Asia Mythbusters How It’s Made How Stuff’s Made Dirty Jobs Man Made Marvels Asia American Chopper

08:45 09:10 09:40 10:30 10:55 11:25 12:20 13:15 14:10 15:05 16:00 16:55 17:50 18:45 19:10 19:40 20:05 20:35 21:00 21:55 22:50 23:45

How Stuff’s Made How It’s Made Mythbusters Cake Boss Border Security Chop Shop Ultimate Survival Mythbusters La Ink Dirty Jobs Chop Shop Mythbusters Deadliest Catch Cake Boss Border Security Deconstruction How Stuff’s Made How It’s Made Cut In Half American Chopper: Senior vs Junior Powering The Future Black Gold

00:30 00:55 01:45 02:35 03:25 03:50 04:45 05:40 06:10 07:00 07:55 07:58 08:25 08:55 09:45 10:10 10:35

The Gadget Show Mega World The Future Of... Invisible Worlds How Stuff’s Made Thunder Races Brainiac One Step Beyond Eco-Tech Scrappy Races Head Rush Sci-Fi Science Weird Connections How The Universe Works The Gadget Show The Gadget Show Invisible Worlds

11:25 11:50 12:40 13:05 13:55 14:45 15:35 16:00 16:03 16:30 17:00 17:50 18:40 19:30 20:20 20:45 21:10 21:35 22:00 22:50 23:40

Green Wheels Scrappy Races One Step Beyond Weird Or What? Science Of The Movies Mega World The Gadget Show Head Rush Sci-Fi Science Weird Connections Brainiac How The Universe Works Ultimate Power Builders 2012 Apocalypse Sci-Fi Science Cool Stuff And How It Works The Gadget Show The Gadget Show Ultimate Power Builders 2012 Apocalypse The Colony

00:15 00:40 01:05 01:30 03:15 04:10 05:05 06:00 07:45 08:10 08:35 09:25 10:15 12:00 12:50 13:15 13:40 14:05

Kendra Fashion Police Extreme Close-Up Cheating Death 25 Most Stylish Sexiest Extreme Hollywood THS Behind the Scenes Behind the Scenes E! News Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane THS E! News Giuliana & Bill Giuliana & Bill Keeping Up with the Kardashians Kendra

THS THS Behind the Scenes Behind the Scenes Kourtney and Kim Take New York Kourtney and Kim Take New York E! News Married To Rock Married To Rock THS The Soup Chelsea Lately Kendra Kendra E! News Chelsea Lately Fashion Police Keeping Up with the Kardashians

00:05 Unwrapped 00:30 Diners, Drive-Ins And Dives 00:55 Throwdown With Bobby Flay 01:20 Throwdown With Bobby Flay 01:45 Ultimate Recipe Showdown 02:35 Unwrapped 03:00 Unwrapped 03:25 Throwdown With Bobby Flay Special 04:15 Good Eats - Special 04:40 Unwrapped 05:05 Ten Dollar Dinners 05:30 Paula’s Best Dishes 05:50 Paula’s Party 06:35 Barefoot Contessa 07:00 Chopped 07:50 Guy’s Big Bite 08:15 Boy Meets Grill 08:40 Good Deal With Dave Lieberman 09:05 Ten Dollar Dinners 09:30 Paula’s Best Dishes 09:55 Barefoot Contessa 10:20 Diners, Drive-Ins And Dives 10:45 Throwdown With Bobby Flay 11:10 Unwrapped 11:35 Paula’s Party 12:25 Good Eats - Special 12:50 Paula’s Best Dishes 13:15 Throwdown With Bobby Flay 13:40 Ultimate Recipe Showdown 14:30 Diners, Drive-Ins And Dives 14:55 Unwrapped 15:20 Boy Meets Grill 15:45 Chopped 16:35 Paula’s Best Dishes 17:00 Barefoot Contessa 17:25 Good Deal With Dave Lieberman 17:50 Ten Dollar Dinners 18:15 Paula’s Party 19:05 Good Eats - Special 19:30 Food Network Challenge 20:20 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 20:45 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 21:10 Ultimate Recipe Showdown 22:00 Diners, Drive-Ins And Dives 22:25 Boy Meets Grill 22:50 Ultimate Recipe Showdown 23:40 Good Deal With Dave Lieberman

02:00 MLB: Washington Nationals at Florida Marlins 05:00 PGA Tour Highlights: Shell Houston Open 06:00 Champions Tour Highlights Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic 07:00 Golf Central International 07:30 Golf Channel TBA 10:00 The Masters Rd. 1 Augusta, GA 14:00 Big Ten Men’s Gymnastics Big Ten Individual Championships at Illinois 16:00 Prime/Time Boxing 18:00 Lucas Oil Motorsports Hour 19:00 MLB: Washington Nationals at Florida Marlins 22:00 The Masters Rd. 2 Augusta, GA

00:30 01:20 02:10 03:00 03:50 04:45 05:15 06:10 07:00 07:50 08:40 09:30 09:55 10:20 11:10

Ghost Lab A Haunting On The Case With Paula Zahn True Crime Scene Dr G: Medical Examiner Ghosthunters Ghost Lab Mystery Diagnosis Forensic Detectives Solved Mystery Diagnosis Real Emergency Calls Real Emergency Calls On The Case With Paula Zahn FBI Files

12:00 12:50 13:40 14:30 14:55 15:20 16:10 17:00 17:50 18:40 19:30 19:55 20:20 21:10 22:00 22:50 23:40

Ripped From The Headlines The Prosecutors Mystery Diagnosis Real Emergency Calls Real Emergency Calls On The Case With Paula Zahn Forensic Detectives Solved FBI Files Mystery Diagnosis Real Emergency Calls Real Emergency Calls Ripped From The Headlines The Prosecutors FBI Case Files Fugitive Strike Force Dr G: Medical Examiner

01:10 02:40 04:20 05:55 07:25 08:50 10:15 11:45 13:05 15:25 16:50 18:30 20:30 22:00 23:50

Foxy Brown Bad Influence The Coca Cola Kid-PG Palais Royale It Runs In The Family-PG The Medgar Evers Story-PG Who Was Geli Bendl?-PG A.K.A. Cassius Clay-PG Avanti-PG Nashville Beat-PG White Lightning-PG The Killer Elite Dreamchild-FAM Audrey Rose-PG Article 99-PG

00:30 01:00 02:00 04:00 05:00 06:00 07:00 08:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 12:30 13:00 14:00 14:30 15:00 15:30 16:00 17:00 17:30 18:00 19:00 20:00 20:30 21:00 21:30 22:00

Bondi Rescue 2 Lonely Planet- Roads Less Travelled Banged Up Abroad Graham’s World Long Way Down Bondi Rescue 1 Lonely Planet- Roads Less Travelled Banged Up Abroad Cruise Ship Diaries Earth Tripping Bondi Rescue 1 Bondi Rescue 2 Lonely Planet- Roads Less Travelled Food School Food Lovers Guide To The Planet Exploring The Vine Pressure Cook Cruise Ship Diaries Earth Tripping Earth Tripping Bondi Rescue 1 Lonely Planet- Roads Less Travelled Food School Food Lovers Guide To The Planet Exploring The Vine Pressure Cook Cruise Ship Diaries

00:00 01:00 01:55 Barr 02:50 03:45 04:40 05:35 06:30 07:25 08:20 09:15 Barr 10:10 11:05 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 16:00 17:00 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00 23:00

World’s Deadliest Animals The Living Edens Dangerous Encounters With Brady Shark Men World’s Deadliest Bite Me With Dr. Mike Leahy Kalahari Supercats Africa’s Secret Seven Bite Me With Dr. Mike Leahy The Last Lioness Dangerous Encounters With Brady Shark Men World’s Deadliest Thunder Beasts Lion Army The Living Edens Zambezi The Lion Ranger Zoo Confidential Thunder Beasts Lion Army The Living Edens Zambezi The Lion Ranger Zoo Confidential

00:45 Fast Lane-PG15 02:15 From Hell-18 04:15 Jennifer’s Body-18 06:00 Angels And Demons-PG15 08:30 Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life-PG15

TV listings

SATURDAY, APRIL 9, 2011 10:30 The Faculty-18 12:30 Snake Eyes-PG15 14:30 Pearl Harbor-PG15 17:45 Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life-PG15 20:00 Ninja Assassin-18 22:00 Hallowed Ground-PG15

01:00 03:00 05:00 07:00 09:00 11:00 13:00 15:00 17:00 19:00 21:00 23:00

The Waiting City-PG15 The Ramen Girl-PG15 Run Papa Run-PG15 Ball And Chain-PG15 Preacher’s Kid-PG The Sorcerer’s Apprentice-PG15 The Ramen Girl-PG15 Where The Wild Things Are-PG The Sorcerer’s Apprentice-PG15 Surrogates-PG15 Case 39-18 Vicky Cristina Barcelona-PG15

00:30 01:00 01:30 02:00 02:30 03:00 03:30 04:00 04:30 05:30 06:00 06:30 07:00 08:00 08:30 09:00 09:30 10:00 10:30 11:00 11:30 12:30 13:00 13:30 14:00 14:30 15:00 15:30 16:00 16:30 17:00 18:00 18:30 19:00 19:30 20:00 21:00 21:30 22:00 22:30 23:00 23:30

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart The Colbert Report Family Guy Sarah Silverman Program Entourage Just Shoot Me Community Family Guy The Tonight Show With Jay Leno How I Met Your Mother Yes Dear The Drew Carey Show Late Night With Jimmy Fallon Tyler Perry’s House Of Payne Dharma And Greg Just Shoot Me How I Met Your Mother Yes Dear Rita Rocks The Drew Carey Show The Tonight Show With Jay Leno Dharma And Greg Tyler Perry’s House Of Payne How I Met Your Mother Yes Dear Community Rita Rocks The Daily Show With Jon Stewart The Colbert Report The Drew Carey Show Late Night With Jimmy Fallon Friends 10 Things I Hate About You Outsourced The League The Tonight Show With Jay Leno The Daily Show With Jon Stewart The Colbert Report Nut Case Bored To Death Family Guy Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

00:00 01:00 03:00 04:00 05:00 07:00 08:00 08:30 09:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 14:00 16:00 17:00 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00 23:00

The Ellen Degeneres Show American Idol Bones The Gates Good Morning America Mercy Emmerdale Look-A-Like The Martha Stewart Show The View The Gates American Idol Live Good Morning America Mercy The Ellen Degeneres Show Downsize Me No Ordinary Family American Idol Survivor: Redemption Island Lie To Me Mercy

00:00 01:00 03:00 04:00 05:00 06:00 07:00 07:30 08:00 09:00 10:00 11:00 11:30 12:00

White Collar American Idol The Gates Bones White Collar The Ellen Degeneres Show 8 Simple Rules ... My Boys Smallville White Collar The Ellen Degeneres Show 8 Simple Rules ... My Boys American Idol

14:00 15:00 16:00 16:30 17:00 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00

Smallville White Collar 8 Simple Rules ... My Boys The Ellen Degeneres Show Friday Night Lights No Ordinary Family American Idol Survivor: Redemption Island Royal Pains

01:00 03:00 05:00 06:45 09:00 11:00 13:00 15:00 16:30 18:30 21:15 23:00

El Mariachi-PG15 Blindness-18 Halloween 2-18 Face Off-PG15 Star Runners-PG15 Scream 3-18 House Under Siege-PG15 Star Runners-PG15 12 Rounds-PG15 Watchmen-18 Stag Night-18 Hallowed Ground-PG15

00:00 Bustin’ Loose-PG15 02:00 How To Go Out On A Date In Queens-PG15 04:00 Paul Blart Mall Cop-PG15 06:00 I Spy-PG 08:00 Leave It To Beaver-PG 10:00 Mr. Deeds-PG 12:00 Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs-PG 14:00 Anger Management-PG15 16:00 Bustin’ Loose-PG15 18:00 New York City Serenade-PG15 20:00 The Broken Hearts Club-18 22:00 Harold And Kumar Escape From Guantanamo-R

01:00 03:00 05:00 07:00 09:00 11:00 13:00 15:00 17:00 19:00 21:00 23:15

01:30 04:00 05:30 07:30 09:00 11:00 13:00 15:00 17:00 19:00 21:00 22:30

Le Nouveau Protocole-PG15 The Hours-18 Cry Baby-PG15 The Loss Of A Teardrop DiamondA Shine Of Rainbows-PG15 October Sky-PG15 My Sister’s Keeper-PG15 Temple Grandin-PG15 From Time To Time-PG15 Man In The Chair-PG15 State Of Play-PG15 Punch-Drunk Love-18

Cold Mountain-18 Delgo-FAM 12 Rounds-PG15 Rugrats Go Wild-FAM Hachiko: A Dog’s Story-PG15 Beauty And The Beast 2-FAM Aliens In The Attic-FAM The Informant!-PG15 Hachiko: A Dog’s Story-PG15 Adam-PG15 9-PG15 Killshot-18

00:00 Steven Spielberg Presents Animaniacs Wakko’s Wakko-PG 01:45 Cars-PG 04:00 Groove Squad-FAM 06:00 Homeward Bound II: Lost In San Francisco-FAM 08:00 Monsters vs. Aliens-PG 10:00 Beauty And The Beast 2-FAM 12:00 Ponyo On The Cliff By The Sea-FAM 13:45 Cars-PG 16:00 Up-FAM 18:00 Beauty And The Beast 2-FAM 20:00 A Christmas Carol-PG

Case 39 on OSN Cinema

00:00 The Guitar-18 02:00 Fanboys-PG15 04:00 Valentine’s Day-PG15 06:00 Maneater: Part I-PG15 08:00 Legally Blondes-PG 10:00 Amelia-PG15 12:00 Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel-FAM 14:00 Maneater: Part II-PG15 16:00 Legally Blondes-PG 18:00 Amelia-PG15 20:00 9-PG15 22:00 My Best Friend’s Girl-18

01:00 01:30 03:30 04:30 06:30 07:00 09:00 09:30 10:00 10:30 12:30 13:00 14:00 16:30 17:00 18:00 21:15 21:45

Total Rugby European Challenge Cup AFL Highlights Scottish Premier League Futbol Mundial European Challenge Cup NRL Full Time Futbol Mundial Total Rugby Live Super 15 ICC Cricket World Trans World Sport AFL Premiership ICC Cricket World Live The All Sport Show Premier League Darts Futbol Mundial Live European Challenge Cup

00:00 00:30 01:30 02:00 06:00 07:00

NRL Full Time Golfing World European Tour Weekly Premier League Darts Trans World Sport Golfing World

08:00 08:30 11:30 12:00 12:30 14:30 15:00 17:00 19:00 20:45 21:45 23:45

Futbol Mundial Live AFL Premiership Futbol Mundial NRL Full Time Live NRL Premiership Total Rugby Super 15 NRL Premiership NRL Premiership The All Sports Show Live European Challenge Cup Total Rugby

01:00 02:00 03:00 04:00 05:00 06:00 07:00 08:00 09:00 09:30 10:30 11:00 11:30 12:30 15:00 15:30 16:30 17:30 18:00 19:00 20:00 22:00

UFC The Ultimate Fighter UFC Unleashed WWE NXT V8 Supercars Championship V8 Supercars Championship UFC The Ultimate Fighter WWE NXT V8 Supercars Championship Full Throttle UAE National Race Day Series Sports Adventure British Triathlon WWE NXT Live NRL Premiership Sports Adventure WWE NXT V8 Supercars Championship V8 Supercars Extra UFC The Ultimate Fighter WWE NXT WWE SmackDown Live Super League

01:15 The Hunger-18 02:50 Sitting Target-PG15 04:20 They Were Expendable-PG 07:00 Go West-FAM 08:20 Raintree County-PG 11:00 Where The Spies Are-PG 12:50 Adam’s Rib-FAM 14:30 Where Were You When The Lights Went Out?-PG 16:00 The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn-FAM 17:50 The Shoes Of The Fisherman-FAM 20:20 Catlow-PG 22:00 The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight-PG 23:35 Fame-PG15

00:30 01:20 02:10 03:00 03:55 04:50 05:15 05:40 06:30 07:20 08:10 09:00 09:55 10:50 11:15 11:40 12:30 13:20 14:10 15:00 15:55 16:50 17:15 17:40 18:30 19:20 20:10 21:00 21:55 23:40

Decoding the Past Dinosaur Secrets Nostradamus Effect Ax Men Tunnellers Pawn Stars Pawn Stars Ancient Discoveries Decoding the Past Dinosaur Secrets Nostradamus Effect Ax Men Tunnellers Pawn Stars Pawn Stars Ancient Discoveries How the Earth Was Made Dinosaur Secrets Nostradamus Effect Ax Men Tunnellers Pawn Stars Pawn Stars Ancient Discoveries How the Earth Was Made Dinosaur Secrets Nostradamus Effect The Universe Beyond the Big Bang The Universe

00:00 01:00 01:30 01:55 02:25 03:20 04:15 05:10 05:35 06:05 07:00 07:30

Jerseylicious Fashion Avenue Fashion Avenue Big Boutique How Do I Look? Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? Homes With Style Area Clean House Big Boutique Big Boutique

08:00 Homes With Style 09:00 Fashion Avenue 09:55 How Do I Look? 10:50 Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? 11:50 Clean House: Search For The Messiest... 12:50 Clean House 13:45 Clean House Comes Clean 14:15 Mel B: It’s A Scary World 14:45 Jerseylicious 15:40 Ruby 16:35 Giuliana And Bill 17:30 Fashion Police 17:55 Top 10 18:25 Most Outrageous Weddings 19:25 Big Boutique 19:50 Fashion Avenue 20:20 Clean House Comes Clean 21:15 Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? 22:10 Bridalplasty 23:05 How Do I Look?

00:00 01:00 02:00 03:00 03:30 04:00 05:00 06:00 06:30 07:00 08:00 09:00 10:00 10:30 11:00 12:00 13:00 13:30 14:00 14:30 15:30 16:00 17:00 17:30 18:30 19:00 20:00 21:00 21:30 22:00 22:30 23:00

Indian Times Megalopolis Rajasthan - A Colourful Legacy Glutton For Punishment Angry Planet Globe Trekker Indian Times Top Travel Chef Abroad Globe Trekker Inside Luxury Travel-Varun Sharma Megalopolis Sophie Grigson In The Orient Floyd Uncorked World’s Greatest Motorcycle Rides Globe Trekker Journey Into Wine- Australia The Thirsty Traveler Top Travel Inside Luxury Travel-Varun Sharma Rudy Maxa’s World Globe Trekker Destination Cuba Planet Food The Thirsty Traveler Globe Trekker Globe Trekker Word Travels Wild At Heart Four Men and a Lady Travel Today Globe Trekker

00:05 Cow And Chicken 00:30 Cramp Twins 00:55 George Of The Jungle 01:20 Adrenalini Brothers 01:45 Eliot Kid 02:10 Ed, Edd N Eddy 02:35 Ben 10: Alien Force 03:00 The Powerpuff Girls 03:15 Chowder 03:40 The Secret Saturdays 04:05 My Gym Partner’s A Monkey 04:30 Ben 10: Alien Force 04:55 Best Ed 05:20 Skunk Fu! 05:45 Cramp Twins 06:10 Eliot Kid 06:35 The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack 07:00 Codename: Kids Next Door 07:25 Cow And Chicken 07:50 Best Ed 08:15 Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends 08:40 Ben 10: Alien Force 09:05 The Secret Saturdays 09:30 Batman: The Brave And The Bold 09:55 The Powerpuff Girls 10:20 Robotboy 10:30 Hero 108 10:55 Ben 10 11:20 Chowder 11:45 The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack 12:10 Camp Lazlo 12:35 George Of The Jungle 13:00 Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends 13:25 Codename: Kids Next Door 13:50 Ben 10 14:15 My Gym Partner’s A Monkey 14:40 Squirrel Boy 15:05 Eliot Kid 15:35 Ed, Edd N Eddy 16:00 Cow And Chicken 16:25 Chop Socky Chooks 16:50 Skunk Fu! 17:15 Chowder



Bangladesh Awami League organizes cultural show


n the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Bangladesh Independence and National day, there was a discussion and cultural show organized by Bangladesh Awami League, Kuwait Chapter, in the Premises of Moghulmahal Restaurant Family Hall room at Fahaheel Kuwait on Tuesday ,29th March 2011. More than three hundred personalities from different political, cultural, business Community etc. attended. The discussion meeting was presided over by Freedom Fighter Engineer Abdur Rabthe founder President and Present President Bangladesh Awami League, Kuwait Chapter. The Chief guest was Jahangir Hussain Patwary Managing Director,

Diamond International. The meeting was conducted by Prabir Babu and Nurul Amin. Opening Speech was made by Nurul Amin Sr. Vice President. The verses of the holy Quran was recited by Quari Emran Hussain. The Special guests were: Mohammad Hussain CIP, Barek MD ASSAS CO. Abul Kalam Businessman, Jafar Ahmed President Chittagong Samity, Rauf Maola Editor Marulekha, Quader Quddus businessman, Mannan Seraji Awamileague, Baharuddin Bahar SR.VP, Harun VP, Samim Ahmed VP, Rafiullah, Badal President Jaker Party, Sobahan GS, Alamgir VP Fahaheel, Akter President Mina Abdellah.

The Speakers were Ramjan Ali VP, Obeid Joint Secretary, Sobahan GS, Belayet President Fahaheei, Momin JS, Sanjeet Sarker JS, Helal JS, Omar Farook Organising Sec, Dipanker OS, Siddiqur Rahman OS, Anoar Hussain OS, Imam Hussain, Bashar President Mahbula, Salah Ahmed President Swaikh, Ibrahim, Momin, Bachu mia, Rashid, Sahabuddin, ENGR Rab President, Jahangir Hussain Chief Guest. A cultural show was organised and it was excellent. 7th March Speech of Bangabandhu was shown on Screen. A dinner party was held.

Cinemagic Saturday, April 23rd at 7:30pm

Today at 7:30pm

Saturday, April 16th at 7:30pm




Director: Chan Wook Park Country: South Korea Release: 2002 Genre: Crime | Drama | Thriller Running time: 129 minutes Language: Korean | English Subtitle Awards: Best Actor, Best Film, Best Director

Director: Sam Mendes Country: USA Release: 2009 Genre: Comedy | Drama Running time: 98 minutes Language: English | English Subtitle Awards: Nominated Best Actors, Best Film

Director: Deepa Mehta Country: India Release: 2005 Genre: Drama Running time: 117 minutes Language: Hindi | English Subtitle Awards: Best Film, Director, Cinematography, Script

Thursday, April 21st at 7:30pm

Thursday, April 28th at 7:30pm

Thursday, April 14th at 7:30pm

THE WIZARD OF OZ Director: Victor Fleming Country: USA Release: 1939 Genre: Adventure | Fantasy | Musical | Family Running time: 101 minutes Language: English | English Subtitle Awards: 2 Oscars, 5 other wins and 8 nominations

JAR CITY Director: Baltasar Kormakur Country: Iceland Release: 2006 Genre: Thriller Running time: 93 minutes Language: Icelandic | English Subtitle Awards: Best Film, Best Actor, Best Director, Cinematography

THE HEADLESS WOMAN Director: Lucrecia Martel Country: Argentina Release: 2009 Genre: Drama | Mystery | Thriller Running time: 87 minutes Language: Spanish | English Subtitle Awards: Cannes, in competition, Best film, director, actress

Farewell I

t was a memorable moment yesterday as friends and well-wishers gathered for a farewell party of Bro Niyi who is relocating for good to Canada. “May the good Lord bless you and your family and crown all your efforts with success, Amen”.

Celebrating Vishu on April 15 Seva Darshan Kuwait will be celebrating this Vishu on April 15th, 2011 as Seva Dinam at the Indian Central School in Abbasiya, in the true spirit of our philosophical thought, seva dharma param dharma. Our families will be offering Visukkaineetam to the scores of children and parents who have no one to take care of them and have been residing in various shelters across the country. NAFO to present Soorya’s ‘Sangamam’ National Forum Kuwait (NAFO Kuwait) is all set to bringing a spectacular, well conceptualized, a jewel in crown super cultural show ‘Sangamam’ for the art lovers of Kuwait, according to a press release. Indian Ambassador Ajai Malhotra will inaugurate the first of its kind super show, scheduled for the evening of Friday, May 13, 2011 (6.00 PM) at the American International School Auditorium, Maidan-Hawalli. Voice Kuwait 6th Anniversary Voice Kuwait celebrating its 6th anniversary “VISWAKALA 2011” on May 20th Friday from 4 pm to 9 pm at Carmel School Khaitan. The program presided over Voice Kuwait president P.G.Binu formed new program committee for Viswakala 2011. P.C.Sukumaran (Chairman),Baiju Vijayan (Gen: Convener). Leelamma Lakshmanan (Joint convener), C.K,Pradeepan, M.Sreenivasan (Refill), V.Shanil,Surendran Mathur, Gireev.P.Kumar, (souvenir), Raghunathan Achari, Deepa Baluchandran (finance), Saritha Rajan, K.Shajan (Arts), Pramod Kakkoth, Balasubramanyan (Stage), Pramod Manukkara, P.Sasidharan (food), Mohanan Achari, Unnikrishnan(transportation), N.Raveendran(Volunteer Captain), Satheesan Kunneru (Vice captain), Keloth Vijayan, Mini Krishna, M.T.Haridasan, K.S.Sajeev, Gireeshwayanad, V.U.Rajan, A.K.Vilasini, Sreekala Vipin,Salini Raju(reception) are the members of program committee. Voice Kuwait is giving award to its member’s children who got highest mark in last S.S.L.C. either from Kuwait or from Kerala. The students those are eligible should give attested copy of their mark list to Area conveners or sent copy to General Secretary K.Chandramohanan gave welcome speech and Treasurer Raghunadhan Achari gave vote of thanks. For more information please contact 66950482,94419371. Kala (Art) Kuwait welcomes Karivallur Murali, Rejitha Madhu & Madhu Vangara Kala(Art) Kuwait gave a warm reception to famous Malayalam Drama Artists Mr. Karivallur Murali, Rejitha Madhu and Madhu Vengara at Kuwait International Airport. The Artists came to Kuwait to attend the annual celebration of Kala(Art) Kuwait “Keraleeyam 2011”, which was held yesterday at Indian Central School, Abbasia. The program, scheduled with an event of giving away “Kala Kuwait-Sambasivan Award” to the famous Malayalam Drama Artist Karivallur Murali staged Karivallur Murali’s famous One Act Play “Aboobakkarinte Umma Parayunnu” performed by Rejitha Madhu. ‘Kathakali 2011’ Arpan Kuwait, an Indian socio-cultural organization, will present ‘Kathakali 2011’ on Saturday, April 30 at 6.00 pm at the Indian Community School (Senior Girls), Salmiya as part of its initiative to promote Indian classical art and culture in Kuwait. It was Arpan that brought Kathakali for the first time to Kuwait way back in 2005. Now, Arpan is presenting the unique classical dance drama once again before the Kuwait’s elite audience on popular demand. For details, contact: 99716105, 97277151, 66872372 or 94063428.



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EMBASSY OF BANGLADESH he Embassy of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in Kuwait has taken up an initiative to update the database of Bangladesh nationals residing in the State of Kuwait. For inclusion in the database all the Bangladesh nationals are requested to collect the Registration Form from the Labour Wing of the Embassy. The forms can also be collected sending request to e-mail address. The filled-in forms can also be submitted by hand, by email or by fax (number 2491-3204). The Embassy of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in Kuwait will remain closed on Thursday, 14 April 2011 on the occasion of the Bengali New Year 1418.


he English School Fahaheel Drama Department recently presented their annual production based on Shakespeare’s renowned play “The Tempest” at the Lloyd Webber Theatre. “Prospero’s Magic Candy Charms” is a story of a young magician, Prospero, whose spells enchant and mystify. He discovers a spell which can turn ordinary people into magic candy. The magic candy has special powers and can even cure people from certain phobias. The problem is of course Prospero’s evil brother Antonio. The play is a story about jealousy, forgiveness and of course entertainment and was directed by Catriona Mackenzie and assisted by Sarah Foley. The main cast included Selina Malouka, Ahmed Salmeen, Una Sechic, Dominic Vermilyea, Ryan Bose, Aisha Al Mishwit and many more talented ESF actors. The new ESF Drama studio opened recently and classes and workshops are taking place. The English School Fahaheel offers an IGSCE in Drama by the internationally recognized Cambridge Examinations Board. This is an international qualification recognized at all major universities.


3rd Rezayat cup 20-20 cricket tournament


he 2nd day of 3rd Rezayat cup 20-20 cricket tournament went with two fabulous matches in the league round. In the first match host NCC played with Gulf Spic. A brilliant partnership by Rajesh (22) with Ramamurthy (34*) in the 5th wicket snatched the match away from NCC. Rajesh was adjudged as the man of the match for his all-round performance. In the most awaited 2nd match of the day, Artech with NBTC,

Artech put a mammoth total of 134 before NBTC to chase. As expected NBTC couldn’t control their innings as they lost their wickets in regular intervals. The brilliant bowling performance from Deepu (4 wkts), Rahmath (2 wkts), Baiju & Nithin (1 wkt each) wrapped up the NBTC innings giving ARTECH a convincing victory of 82 runs. Anfar of Artech was adjudged as the man of the match for his brilliant knock.

PALPAK to hold free medical camp


alakkad Pravasi Association of Kuwait (PALPAK) in coordination with Indian Doctors Forum (IDF) and Kuwait Medical Association (KMA) is conducting a free medical awareness consultation on 6th May 2011 at Indian Central School, Abbassiya from 8:00 am till 1:00 pm. The Medical Camp will be inaugurated by HE the Ambassador of India to Kuwait Ajay Malhotra. Palpak requests all the expatriates to utilize the opportunity. Those who are interested to attend; please register your detail by email to and the registration form is available in our website: Due to time constrains


check-up per person Is restricted to any of the three categories as mentioned in the registration form. The objective of this medical camp is to provide free medical consultation/advice for needy and under privileged people of the society mainly living in the labour camps and to those who do not have easy and direct access to free medical examination and consultation. The following consulting services are available such as general medicine, diabetics, dermatology, neurology, nephrology, gastro-entomology, orthopedic, cardiology, pediatric, gynecology, ophthalmology, ENT, surgical and chest and

lungs. There will be free checkup for blood sugar, blood pressure, eye test and cholesterol. This free medical service is carried by the participation more than forty doctors. All the registrations should reach above mentioned PALPAK email or the below committee members on or before 25 April 2011. Late registrations will not be entertained. For further details please feel free to contact the following committee members in your areas Abbassiya & Hasawi - 66447680, 97216434, 91590191, Salmiya - 66261765, 97253235, 90082507. Farwania - 97260159, 66535989, 99900586, Fahaheel- 90925460, 66290456, 68328005, 66505983.

EMBASSY OF CANADA The Embassy of Canada is open from 07:30 to 15:30 Sunday through Thursday. Consular Services for Canadian Citizens are provided from 09:00 until 12:00 on Sunday through Wednesday. The Embassy of Canada is located at Villa 24, AlMutawakel St., Block 4 in Daíaiyah. Please visit our website at Canada offers a registration service for all Canadians travelling or living abroad. This service is provided so that Consular Officials can contact and assist Canadians in an emergency in a foreign country, such as a natural disaster or civil unrest, or inform Canadians of a family emergency at home. The Embassy of Canada encourages all Canadian Citizens to register online through the Government of Canada Travel Website at The Canadian Embassy in Abu Dhabi provides visa and immigration services to residents of Kuwait. Individuals who are interested in visiting, working or immigrating to Canada are invited to visit the website of the Canadian Embassy to the UAE at EMBASSY OF INDIA

The Embassy of India will remain closed on Thursday, April 14, 2011 on account of birthday of Dr B.R. Ambedkar. The Embassy of India has further revamped and improved its Legal Advice Clinic at the Indian Workers Welfare Center, and made the free service available to Indian nationals on all five working days, i.e. from Sunday to Thursday every week. Kuwaiti lawyers would be available at the Legal Advice Clinic daily from Monday to Thursday, while Indian lawyers would be available on Sundays. Following are the free welfare services provided at the Indian Workers Welfare Center located at the Embassy of India: [i] 24x7 Helpline for Domestic Workers: Accessible by toll free telephone no. 25674163 from anywhere in Kuwait, it provides information and advice exclusively to Indian domestic sector workers (Visa No. 20) as regards their grievances, immigration and other matters. [ii] Help Desk: It offers guidance to Indian nationals on routine immigration, employment, legal, and other issues (Embassy premises; 9 AM to 1 PM and 2 PM to 4.30 PM, Sunday to Thursday); (iii) Labour Complaints Desk: It registers labor complaints and provides grievance redressal service to Indian workers (Embassy premises; 9 AM to 1 PM and 2 PM to 4.30 PM, Sunday to Thursday); (iv) Shelters: For female and male domestic workers in distress; (v) Legal Advice Clinic: Provides free legal advice to Indian nationals (Embassy premises; Kuwaiti lawyers 3 PM to 5 PM, Monday to Thursday; Indian lawyers 2 PM to 4 PM on Sunday); and (vi) Attestation of Work Contracts: Private sector worker (Visa No. 18) contracts are accepted at the Embassy; 9 AM to 1 PM; Sunday to Thursday; Domestic sector worker (Visa No. 20) contracts are accepted at Kuwait Union of Domestic Labor Offices (KUDLO), Hawally, Al-Othman Street, Kurd Roundabout, Al-Abraj Complex, Office No 9, Mezzanine Floor; 9 AM to 9 PM, Saturday to Thursday; 5 PM to 9 PM on Friday.



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US to act to slash health disparities WASHINGTON: From cradle to grave, minority populations in the United States tend to suffer poorer health and get poorer healthcare than white Americans. In a first-of-its-kind report, the government is recommending steps to reduce those disparities. The plan being released runs the gamut from improving dental care for poor children to tapping “promotoras,” savvy community health workers who can help guide their Spanish-speaking neighbors in seeking treatment. But it acknowledges that giving everyone an equal shot at living a healthy life depends on far more than what happens inside a doctor’s office or actions federal health officials. “It’s also a product of where people live, labor, learn, play and pray,” Dr. Howard Koh, assistant secretary of Health and Human Services, told The Associated Press. “We really need a full commitment from the country to achieve these goals.” HHS would not put a dollar figure on its own pending projects but said it plans to pay for them with money already in hand and not subject to Congress’ continuing budget battle. The tight economy casts doubt on how much states and other groups may be able to chip in, said Dr. Paul Jarris, executive director of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. But “we’ll never be a healthy nation unless we address these inequities,” Jarris said. “There’s a lot of momentum finally building” to do so. Recent years have brought some improvements in health disparities, although racial and ethnic minorities still lag in many areas — from higher infant mortality rates to lower overall life expectancy. In between, they’re more likely to suffer from a host of illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease and asthma. Part of the problem is access to care: Minorities make up more than half of the 50 million people who are not insured, the HHS report says. The Obama administration’s year-old health-care overhaul addresses some of the insurance gaps. But there is a growing appreciation that disparities are more complex. Even geography plays a big role, through shared ancestry and customs, local industry, easy access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and how easy and safe it is to get physical activity in a particular community. Among the HHS plans outlined in yesterday’s report: —Working with states to increase by 10 percent the number of poor children who receive preventive dental care, including cavity-blocking sealants. • Hiring trusted local people to serve as community health workers who can help diabetics understand and stick to their doctor’s care instructions. A Medicare pilot program has begun in Mississippi and Texas and will spread to other areas. • Increasing use of trained promotoras, the Spanish term for those trusted locals. Head Start will use them to direct parents to health services. • Developing reimbursement incentives to improve the quality of care for minority populations, such as better prevention of heart disease and strokes. • New studies comparing which treatments work best for diabetes, asthma, arthritis and heart disease in minority populations. • Creating an online national registry of certified interpreters that doctors or hospitals can use for patients who do not speak English. • State grants to measure and improve community asthma care. HHS held meetings around the country to gather suggestions from state and local officials, community groups and average citizens on barriers to health equality, and a separate report reflects strategies for community efforts. — AP

MANILA: A Philippine street child holds her feeding bottle as her grandparents look on behind in Manila yesterday. At night, these children sleep in the street under a sheet of canvas. A survey by a respected research group found that the number of people who considered themselves poor and hungry had risen under the administration of President Benigno Aquino. — AFP

Alcohol major cause for cancer in Europe: Study Study looked at data from eight nations in western Europe LONDON: Almost 10 percent of all cancers in men and 3.0 percent in women in western Europe are caused by people drinking too much alcohol, scientists said yesterday. German researchers analyzed data from France, Italy, Spain, Britain, The Netherlands, Greece, Germany and Denmark and found 50,400 out of a total of 79,100 cases of certain types of cancers-in including bowel and throat tumors-in 2008 were caused by people drinking more than recommended limits. “Many cancer cases could have been avoided if alcohol consumption was limited to two alcoholic drinks per day in men and one alcoholic drink per day in women, ... the recommendations of many health organizations,” said Madlen Schutze of the German Institute of Human Nutrition, who led the study. “And even more cancer cases would be prevented if people reduced their alcohol intake to below recommended guidelines or stopped drinking alcohol at all.” A standard drink contains about 12 grams of alcohol and is equivalent to one 125 millilitre (ml) glass of wine or a half pint of beer. “Many people just don’t know that drinking alcohol can

increase their cancer risk,” said Sara Hiom, director of health information at the charity Cancer Research UK. She noted that in Britain, mouth cancer has become much more common in the last 10 years, and “one reason for this could be because of higher levels of drinking, as this study reflects.” According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organisation, there is a causal link between alcohol consumption and liver cancer, breast cancer colon or bowel cancer, and cancers of the upper digestive tract such as mouth, throat and oesophageal cancers. The researchers, whose work was published in the British Medical Journal, used data from research known as the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC) study in which 363,988 men and women, mostly aged between 35 and 70 when they joined the study, were followed for cancer from the mid-1990s. They calculated that in 2008, alcohol consumption by men was responsible for about 57,600 cases of cancer of the types known to be linked to drinking. More than half of the cases,

or 33,000, were due to having more than two drinks a day. Alcohol intake by women in the eight countries caused about 21,500 cases of upper digestive tract, liver, colorectum, and breast cancer, of which more than 80 percent, or 17,400, were due to their having more than one standard drink a day. Manuela Bergmann, who worked with Schutze on the study, said the findings provided solid support for recommended drinking limits and said she hoped more people would stick to them. “It underlines that at the very least, it would be good to stay within the limits,” she said in a telephone interview. “Many people believe it’s only a small group who drink more than the upper limits, but it’s becoming more of a problem because alcohol is cheap and available, so people drink more.” Estimates from the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund published in February said a third of all common cancers in the United States, China and Britain could be prevented each year if people had healthier diets, drank less alcohol and exercised more. — Reuters

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information SATURDAY, APRIL 9, 2011



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Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page (

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ACCOMMODATION Accommodation available for executive bachelors/ working ladies/ couples in a semi-furnished bedroom, central A/C flat in Sharq, Kuwait City. Contact: 99682526. (C 3252) Accommodation available in Abbassiya for 1 Keralite bachelor in C-A/C flat opposite to JAS Intnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;l Shipping, rent KD 50 elec/water included. Please call 66349475 / 1802255 Extn 308. (C 3253) 9-4-2011 FOR SALE Room available for Muslim couple with attached bath, in Qurtaiba Street, Hawally. Call: 99333160. (C 3249) C-A/C furnished big room available for Indian bachelor to share with Goan, Hindu small family on Amman Street, Salmiya. Contact: 99408202. (C 3250) 7-4-2011 Two bedroom flat available with window A/C, household items, dish antenna, car parking space inside compound in Chithra Studio building, next to Asia Store in Abbassiya from 1st June 2011. Contact: 97973657. (C 3248)

SITUATION VACANT Small American family in Salwa needs full time, live in maid. Must speak English and have own iqama. Call 66838807 after 4pm. Will not answer missed calls. 8-4-2011 American family looking for live in maid. Contact: 66104141/ 65023811. (C 3244) 5-4-2011

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Word Sleuth Solution

Yesterday始s Solution

ACROSS 1. System of measurement based on centimeters and grams and seconds. 4. An esoteric or occult matter that is traditionally secret. 10. The elementary stages of any subject (usually plural). 13. Resinlike substance secreted by certain lac insects. 14. Medieval artillery used during sieges. 15. The syllable naming the sixth (submediant) note of a major or minor scale in solmization. 16. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 17. French painter of Italian landscapes (1796-1875). 19. A tricycle (usually propelled by pedalling). 22. A highly unstable radioactive element (the heaviest of the halogen series). 23. A white metallic element that burns with a brilliant light. 24. An agency of the United Nations responsible for programs to aid education and the health of children and mothers in developing countries. 28. Obvious and dull. 31. A bachelor's degree in religion. 32. Capital and largest city and economic center of Peru. 35. The dynasty that ruled much of Manchuria and northeastern China from 947 to 1125. 38. A compartment in front of a motor vehicle where driver sits. 39. To make a mistake or be incorrect. 40. Young of any of various canines such as a dog or wolf. 44. English monk and scholar (672-735). 46. An artificial language that is a revision and simplification of Esperanto. 47. A silvery soft waxy metallic element of the alkali metal group. 48. A public promotion of some product or service. 49. Formerly a gold coin of various European countries. 50. The longer of the two telegraphic signals used in Morse code. 52. Type genus of the Alcidae comprising solely the razorbill. 55. Amino acid that is formed in the liver and converted into dopamine in the brain. 57. Inquire about. 60. United States tennis player (born in Czechoslovakia) who won several singles championships. 62. A starch made by leaching and drying the root of the cassava plant. 63. The 19th letter of the Greek alphabet. 64. The striking of one body against another. 67. A member of a Mayan people of southwestern Guatemala. 68. Many times at short intervals. 69. The 3 goddesses of fate or destiny. 70. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. DOWN 1. A sudden very loud noise. 2. A measuring instrument for measuring and indicating a quantity or for testing conformity with a standard. 3. Any of a number of fishes of the family Carangidae. 4. Of or relating to or near the coccyx. 5. Small buffalo of the Celebes having small straight horns. 6. Found along western Atlantic coast. 7. Gone by. 8. A serve that strikes the net before falling into the receiver's court. 9. A colorless and odorless inert gas. 10. A flat wing-shaped process or winglike part of an organism. 11. A small cake leavened with yeast. 12. An informal conversation. 18. A Gaelic-speaking Celt in Ireland or Scotland or the Isle of Man. 20. The United Nations agency concerned with civil aviation.

21. Date used in reckoning dates before the supposed year Christ was born. 25. A soft gray ductile metallic element used in alloys. 26. Automatic data processing in which data acquisition and other stages or processing are integrated into a coherent system. 27. A tax on employees and employers that is used to fund the Social Security system. 29. A river in northern England that flows southeast through West Yorkshire. 30. An aromatic ointment used in antiquity. 33. An independent group of closely related Chadic languages spoken in the area between the Biu-Mandara and East Chadic languages. 34. In bed. 36. Surpassing the ordinary especially in size or scale. 37. Wild sheep of northern Africa. 41. A river in the east central United States. 42. (of tempo) Moderately slow n. 43. The cry made by sheep. 45. (Babylonian) God of storms and wind. 51. Leafless East Indian vine. 52. A soft silvery metallic element of the alkali earth group. 53. The main organ of photosynthesis and transpiration in higher plants. 54. King of Denmark and Norway who forced Edmund II to divide England with him. 56. Large burrowing rodent of South and Central America. 58. Someone who works (or provides workers) during a strike. 59. God of love and erotic desire. 61. Fleshy folds of tissue as those surrounding the mouth. 65. Informal terms for a mother. 66. A soft yellowish-white trivalent metallic element of the rare earth group.

Yesterday始s Solution



Phillies rout Mets 11-0 PHILADELPHIA: Roy Halladay pitched seven sharp innings for his first win of the season, Wilson Valdez had a career-high four hits, and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the New York Mets 11-0 in the National League on Thursday. Halladay (1-0) allowed six hits and struck out seven. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner gave up one run in six innings in the opener against Houston, and avoided a loss when the Phillies rallied in the ninth for a 5-4 win. The four-time NL East champions are off to a 5-1 start in a season where nothing less than a second World Series title in four years will be considered a success. New York starter Jonathon Niese (0-1) got roughed up by an offense that’s averaging 7.2 runs and 12.7 hits per game. The left-hander allowed six runs and eight hits in four innings. Valdez, filling in for injured All-Star Chase Utley, finished 4 for 4 with three RBIs, two doubles and two singles. Placido Polanco drove in four runs and Raul Ibanez hit a two-run homer. Astros 3, Reds 2 At Cincinnati, Matt Downs doubled home the tiebreaking run with two outs in the ninth inning as Houston held on for its first win of the season over previously unbeaten Cincinnati. The Astros were the last NL team to win a game, and they did it with a little drama. Downs, who had struck out in all three of his atbats this season, doubled off Nick Masset (0-1) for the lead. Closer Brandon Lyon, who blew his only other save chance on opening day, gave up a pair of two-out singles before getting pinch-hitter Ramon Hernandez to ground into a forceout. The Reds won their first five games for the first time since 1990. They were the lone NL team left without a loss - Texas is still perfect in the American League. Brewers 4, Braves 2 At Milwaukee, Nyjer Morgan jarred the ball loose in a collision at home to give Milwaukee the lead in the second inning as the Brewers went on to beat Atlanta for a third straight win. Ryan Braun hit his third home run of the season for the Brewers, who have recovered nicely from a four-game losing streak to start the year. Milwaukee rallied to take three of four games from the Braves after losing Monday’s home opener at Miller Park. Martin Prado had a two-run single for Atlanta, which will hold its home opener on Friday after playing its first seven games on the road. Atlanta couldn’t muster much run support for starter Tommy Hanson (0-2), who gave up three runs, seven hits and a walk with two strikeouts in 5 1-3 innings. Rockies 7, Pirates 1 At Pittsburgh, Esmil Rogers allowed four singles while pitching into the eighth inning, Troy Tulowitzki homered and drove in three runs, and Colorado wrecked the Pirates’ home opener under new manager Clint Hurdle. Rogers (1-0) won the Rockies’ No. 5 job with a strong finish in spring training. He looked more like their ace, mixing a devastating 95 mph (153 kph) fastball with a few breaking pitches to overwhelm the Pirates over 7 1-3 dominant innings. After giving up singles to the first two batters, he retired 22 of 23, including 18 straight. Tulowitzki connected for his third homer in the fourth off Paul Maholm (0-1) to make it 3-1 as the Rockies won their fourth straight. Nationals 5, Marlins 3, 11 innings In Miami, Adam LaRoche had a two-run homer in the 11th inning as Washington salvaged the final game of the series. LaRoche was 3 for 23 before he hit his first homer of the year off Edward Mujica (1-1). That ended a streak of 12 2-3 scoreless innings for Florida’s bullpen in the series. The Marlins struck out 12 times and went 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position. Todd Coffey (1-0) pitched a perfect 10th and Sean Burnett pitched the 11th for his second save.—AP

NEW YORK: Minnesota Twins shortstop Alexi Casilla leaps during the seventh inning of their baseball game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium in New York on Thursday, April 7, 2011. —AP

Winless Red Sox off to worst start since 1945 CLEVELAND: The winless Boston Red Sox lost their sixth in a row for their worst start since 1945 when the Cleveland Indians squeezed home the only run in the eighth inning for a 1-0 victory on Thursday. Boston, favored by many to win the World Series, returns to Fenway Park for its home opener on Friday against the New York Yankees. Asdrubal Cabrera’s suicidesqueeze bunt put the Indians ahead in their fourth straight victory. They trapped pinch-runner Darnell McDonald off second base for the final out. Cleveland swept the three-game series, which came after Texas swept the Red Sox to open the year. Yankees 4, Twins 3 At New York, Derek Jeter passed Hall of Famers Rogers Hornsby and Jake Beckley for 33rd place on MLB’s all-time list with two hits, and New York’s relievers held off Minnesota in their first game since blowing a big lead. AJ Burnett (2-0) improved to 7-0 in 12 April starts for the Yankees, allowing two runs on five hits in six innings. With the Yankees up 4-3, Rafael Soriano pitched a scoreless eighth two days after he surrendered a 4-0 lead in a game Minnesota won in extra innings. The Twins lost heralded Japanese import Tsuyoshi Nishioka to an apparent left leg injury when Nick Swisher slid into him at second base while breaking up a double play. Nishioka was 0 for 4 with a strikeout on Thursday to drop his average to .208. Athletics 2, Blue Jays 1 At Toronto, Trevor Cahill pitched eight strong innings for his first win of the season, and Conor Jackson singled home the go-ahead run for Oakland to come from 10 down in the eighth to beat Toronto and avoid a three-game sweep. Cahill (1-0) came in 0-2 with an 8.04 ERA in three starts against Toronto, but kept the Blue Jays in check. He allowed one run and three hits, walked none with seven

strikeotus Toronto’s Ricky Romero allowed one run and four hits in 7 1-3 innings. He walked two and struck out five. Oakland infielder Mark Ellis went in as a defensive replacement in the eighth to appear in his 1,000th MLB game. White Sox 5, Rays 1 At Chicago, Edwin Jackson struck out a career-high 13 as Chicago took its home opener and sent winless Tampa Bay to a sixth straight loss. The AL East champion Rays extended the worst start in team history - they haven’t even held a lead yet this year. Tampa Bay has scored exactly one run in five of its defeats. Jackson (2-0), who pitched a no-hitter against Tampa Bay last season while with Arizona, allowed four hits in eight innings. At 0-6, the Rays have totaled only eight runs and 27 hits this season. They are tied for the

worst record in the majors with the only other winless team, division rival Boston. Orioles 9, Tigers 5 In Baltimore, Adam Jones homered and drove in three runs and Mark Reynolds also had three RBIs as Baltimore used a five-run seventh inning to beat Detroit. Vladimir Guerrero hit his first home run with the Orioles, who took two of three from the Tigers after opening the season with a three-game sweep in Tampa Bay. Baltimore sent 10 batters to the plate in the seventh. After Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis reached against Brad Thomas (01), Guerrero singled in a run off Enrique Gonzalez and Jones hit a sacrifice fly for a 6-5 lead. Reynolds followed with a tworun double and Cesar Izturis got an RBI single. Jim Johnson (1-0) pitched 1 2-3 innings of one-hit relief for Baltimore.— AP

MLB results/standings Major League Baseball results and standings on Thursday. Cleveland 1, Boston 0; Houston 3, Cincinnati 2; Oakland 2, Toronto 1; NY Yankees 4, Minnesota 3; Colorado 7, Pittsburgh 1; Milwaukee 4, Atlanta 2; Chicago White Sox 5, Tampa Bay 1; Philadelphia 11, NY Mets 0; Baltimore 9, Detroit 5; Washington 5, Florida 3 (11 innings). American League Eastern Division W L PCT Baltimore 5 1 .833 Toronto 4 2 .667 NY Yankees 4 2 .667 Tampa Bay 0 6 0 Boston 0 6 0 Central Division Kansas City 4 2 .667 Cleveland 4 2 .667 Chicago White Sox 4 2 Minnesota 2 4 .333 Detroit 2 4 .333 Western Division Texas 6 0 1.000 LA Angels 3 3 .500 Seattle 2 4 .333 Oakland 2 4 .333

GB 1 1 5 5 .667 2 2 3 4 4

National League Eastern Division Philadelphia 5 1 .833 NY Mets 3 3 .500 Florida 3 3 .500 Atlanta 3 4 .429 Washington 2 4 .333 Central Division Cincinnati 5 1 .833 Pittsburgh 4 3 .571 Chicago Cubs 3 3 .500 Milwaukee 3 4 .429 St. Louis 2 4 .333 Houston 1 5 .167 Western Division Colorado 4 1 .800 San Diego 3 2 .600 LA Dodgers 3 3 .500 Arizona 2 3 .400 San Francisco 2 4 .333

2 2 2.5 3 1.5 2 2.5 3 4 1 1.5 2 2.5



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Thrashers blank Rangers 3-0 Stars bury Avalanche to stay in playoff hunt NEW YORK: Rob Schremp and Andrew Ladd scored 15 seconds apart in the second period as the Atlanta Thrashers delivered a blow to the New York Rangers’ playoff hopes with a 3-0 victory in the NHL on Thursday night. Three nights after the Rangers posted their most thrilling win of the season with a late comeback against the Boston Bruins, they looked flat from the start without second-leading scorer Ryan Callahan. New York leads ninth-place Carolina by two points for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, but the Hurricanes have two games remaining and own the tiebreaker over the Rangers. The Rangers have one game left - a home matchup against New Jersey today. Ondrej Pavelec made 29 saves for the Thrashers, who beat New York for the third time in the four-game season series. Stars 4, Avalanche 2 At Dallas, Loui Eriksson and Brad Richards each had a goal and an assist as Dallas beat Colorado to stay alive in the Western Conference playoff race. Brenden Morrow and Tom Wandell added goals for the Stars, who’ve won three straight and are now only two points behind Chicago and Anaheim for the final Western Conference playoff berth. Dallas plays at Colorado on Friday night and at Minnesota

on Sunday. Brandon Yip and Mark Olver scored for Colorado. Canucks 5, Wild 0 In Vancouver, British Columbia, Ryan Kesler scored three goals and Mason Raymond had two as NHL-leading Vancouver closed out its regular-season home schedule with a win. Daniel Sedin added two assists to push his NHLleading point total to 102 and Roberto Luongo made 29 saves for his fourth shutout of the season and 55th overall. Niklas Backstrom stopped 18 shots but was replaced by Jose Theodore after Kesler’s third goal on a wrist shot 2:18 into the third period. Senators 3, Canadiens 2, OT In Ottawa, Filip Kuba scored 1:16 into overtime to lift Ottawa past Montreal. Michael Cammelleri drew Montreal even at 2 with 10.1 seconds left in regulation before Kuba’s drive from the point that got past Montreal backup Alex Auld. Jason Spezza also scored for Ottawa, and Craig Anderson made 26 saves. The Canadiens fell short in their first attempt to give coach Jacques Martin his 600th career victory. They clinched their fourth straight trip to the playoffs with a 2-1 win over Chicago on Tuesday. — AP

NHL results/standings NHL results and standings on Thursday. Atlanta 3, NY Rangers 0; Ottawa 3, Montreal 2 (OT); Dallas 4, Colorado 2; Vancouver 5, Minnesota 0. (OT denotes overtime win). Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L OTL GF X-Philadelphia 46 23 11 249 X-Pittsburgh 47 25 8 229 NY Rangers 43 33 5 228 New Jersey 37 38 5 169 NY Islanders 30 38 12 222 Northeast Division X-Boston 45 24 11 241 X-Montreal 43 30 8 212 Buffalo 41 29 10 236 Toronto 37 33 11 217 Ottawa 32 39 10 191 Southeast Division X-Washington 48 22 11 224 X-Tampa Bay 44 25 11 237 Carolina 39 30 11 228 Atlanta 34 34 12 220 Florida 29 39 12 192

GA PTS 215 103 194 102 196 91 202 79 253 72 191 101 208 94 222 92 247 85 247 74 196 107 236 99 232 89 258 80 225 70

Western Conference Central Division X-Detroit 46 24 10 255 Nashville 43 26 11 215 Chicago 43 28 9 251 St. Louis 37 33 11 238 Columbus 34 33 13 210 Northwest Division X-Vancouver 53 19 9 259 Calgary 41 29 11 248 Minnesota 37 35 8 198 Colorado 29 43 8 221 Edmonton 25 44 11 189 Pacific Division X-San Jose 47 24 9 242 X-Los Angeles 46 28 6 217 Phoenix 42 25 13 226 Anaheim 45 30 5 234 Dallas 41 28 11 221 X - clinched playoff spot

234 102 191 97 219 95 234 85 249 81 183 115 234 93 229 82 282 66 262 61 208 103 193 98 220 97 233 95 226 93

Note: Overtime losses (OTL) are worth one point in the standings and are not included in the loss column (L).

Gonzalez becomes world featherweight champion Nishioka KOs Munoz to defend WBC title KOBE: Jhonny Gonzalez of Mexico fired a right hook to send Japan’s Hozumi Hasegawa down to become the new WBC featherweight champion yesterday. The referee stopped the fight 58 seconds into the fourth round to declare a technical knockout victory for Gonzalez. Hasegawa connected with a left straight to Gonzalez’s face in the opening round while the Mexican landed several right hooks. Gonzalez, ranked top in the WBC, bettered his record to 48 wins, 42 of them by knockout, against seven defeats. It was Hasegawa’s first defense of the title he wrested from Juan Carlos Burgos of Mexico in November last year. He now has 29 wins, including 12 KOs, against four defeats. Nishioka defends WBC title Japan’s Toshiaki Nishioka unleashed a devastating left arm combination to knock out Mauricio Munoz of Argentina and defend his WBC super bantamweight title yesterday. With only a few seconds left in the ninth round, the 34-year-old champion stunned his opponent with a left hook and then piled his left fist straight to the face of Munoz to send him to the floor. “I think I galvanized Japan a little bit when the country is facing so many problems. I’m happy that I was able to show a nice fight to the people,” said Nishioka with his daughter in his arms. Both played from close range from the beginning with the Japanese trying to control the bout by hitting rights while the Mexican unleashed hooks from wide angles. Although Munoz connected several hooks from both sides in the third round, Nishioka was ahead by two points from all three judges after the first four rounds. Nishioka hit a couple of left straights to the face in the

KOBE: Champion Toshiaki Nishioka of Japan (left) lands a punch on challenger Mauricio Munoz of Argentina during WBC bantam weight bout in Kobe, western Japan yesterday. — AP

eighth round to stretch the lead to 78-74, 7874, 78-75 before starting the onslaught at the end of the following round. It was Nishioka’s sixth defense since winning the title in September 2008. He improved his record to 38 wins, including 24 KOs, against four defeats and three draws. The 25-year-old challenger, ranked sixth in the WBC, saw his record reduced to 21 wins, including nine KOs, against three defeats.

Aoh KOs Gutierrez Japan’s Takahiro Aoh pulled off a stunning knockout victory over Humberto Gutierrez of Mexico to defend his WBC super featherweight title yesterday. The knockout came one minute six seconds into the fourth round. “Even though I defeated this challenger, I’m not a real champion, because he failed to make the weight yesterday,” Aoh said of Gutierrez, who finally made the

weight at his third attempt on Thursday. “I want to prove I’m the champion by beating more solid challenger next time,” he added. It was the 27-year-old’s first defence since winning the title in November last year, stretching his record to 21 wins, including 10 KOs, against two defeats and a draw. The 22-yearold Mexican, ranked third in the WBC, now has 28 wins, including 20 KOs, against three defeats and a draw.— Agencies



NBA Roundup

Bulls silence Boston’s big guns Bulls trample Celtics in home race CHICAGO: The Chicago Bulls beat the Boston Celtics 97-81 on Thursday to open a four-game lead at the top of the Eastern Conference and move to within one victory of clinching home-court advantage throughout the NBA playoffs. Chicago (58-20), winners of 17 of their last 19 games, closed out the third quarter with an 11-4 run to pull away from the Celtics (54-24). “This meant a lot because you’re going against a team you could see in the playoffs,” Bulls guard Derrick Rose told reporters after scoring a game-high 30 points. “You don’t want those teams to have confidence. We were aggressive. That’s the way it’s going to be. We’re a tough team. We grind wins out.” The Bulls allowed the Celtics just four field goals in the fourth quarter and, with just four games remaining, Chicago look like genuine title contenders. “I just thought they were far more physical, tougher, more prepared, which is on me,” said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. “I thought Thibs (Chicao coach Tom Thibodeau) did a better job. “I thought (Carlos) Boozer did a better job, I thought Derrick Rose did a better job. I just thought overall they just competed far better than us tonight.” MVP candidate Rose added eight assists for the Bulls and Luol Deng scored 18 of his 23 points in the second half. The Celtics were led by Paul Pierce with 15 points while Kevin Garnett scored 10 and Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen were limited Trail Blazers 98, Jazz 87 In Salt Lake City, Gerald Wallace scored 29 points and Nicolas Batum added 21 to lead Portland over sinking Utah. Wallace scored 20 points in the second half as the Blazers wore down the injury-depleted Jazz, who had only nine healthy players. The loss assured Utah of its second losing season in 28 years. Wesley Matthews scored 18 points and LaMarcus Aldridge had 12 for the Blazers, who moved into sole possession of the sixth playoff spot in the Western Conference, a half game ahead of New Orleans. Devin Harris, who returned after missing five games with a strained hamstring, led the Jazz with 26 points. — Agencies

NBA results/standings NBA results and standings on Thursday: Chicago 97, Boston 81; Portland 98, Utah 87. Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L X-Boston 54 24 X-NY Knicks 40 38 X-Philadelphia 40 39 New Jersey 24 54 Toronto 21 57 Central Division X-Chicago 58 20 X-Indiana 36 43 Milwaukee 32 46 Detroit 27 51 Cleveland 17 61 Southeast Division X-Miami 54 24 X-Orlando 50 29 X-Atlanta 44 34 Charlotte 32 46 Washington 21 57 Western Conference Northwest Division X-Oklahoma City 52 26 X-Denver 48 30 X-Portland 46 33 Utah 37 42 Minnesota 17 62 Pacific Division X-LA Lakers 55 23 Phoenix 38 40 Golden State 35 44 LA Clippers 31 48 Sacramento 23 55 Southwest Division X-San Antonio 60 19 X-Dallas 53 25 X-New Orleans 45 33 Memphis 44 34 Houston 41 38 X - clinched playoff spot

PCT .692 .513 .506 .308 .269

GB 14 14.5 30 33

.744 .456 .410 .346 .218

22.5 26 31 41

.692 .633 .564 .410 .269

4.5 10 22 33

.667 .615 .582 .468 .215

4 6.5 15.5 35.5

.705 .487 .443 .392 .295

17 20.5 24.5 32

.759 .679 .577 .564 .519

6.5 14.5 15.5 19

CHICAGO: Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose (right) drives to the basket against Boston Celtics’ Glen Davis (left) and Nenad Krstic during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game in Chicago. — AP

KOTC shooting tourney ends in style By Abdellatif Sharaa

Mohammad Al-Ghurba

KUWAIT: The Kuwait Oil Tankers Company (KOTC) shooting Tournament comes to a close with the final rounds of men’s and shooting school students’ trap, double trap, skeet and archery events being held today. Kuwait Shooting Sport Club Assistant Secretary, Mohammad Al-Ghurba said preliminary results of the tournament are outstanding by both men and women. He said the juniors showed talent and that some have a good chance of joining the national team. He added that this is a good indication that the sport of shooting in Kuwait has a significant number of talented individuals that are expected to have a good chance at competing well in the future. The closing ceremony will be held at Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Olympic Shooting complex at 4:30 pm. A large turnout is expected as shooters, both men and women, from the club, National Guard and various police associations participated in the tournament. Deputy Chairman of the Board and Deputy Managing Director for Administrative Affairs and Projects at KOTC, Sheikh Ali Humoud Al-Sabah, will represent the company during the closing ceremony. President of Kuwait and the Asian Shooting Sport Association and Vice President of the ISSF, Sheikh Salman Sabah Al-Salem Al-Humoud Al-Sabah along with several board members will attend the event.

Kuwaiti runner in world’s toughest marathons KUWAIT: Kuwaiti runner, Yousef Faisal Al-Qenae successfully managed to complete part four of the world’s toughest marathon; the six-day Marathon Des Sables. The competition, held annually in the Sahara Desert in Morocco, features the participation of more than 850 athletes from all over the world. Al-Qenae passed part four, which is 82 kilometers long, and has qualified to compete in the 42 kilometer part five of the race. Following the successful completion of part five, athletes will then run the final eight kilometers of the world’s longest and most onerous marathon, of which participating and completing just one part is an accomplishment for any runner. By the end of part four, Al-Qenae will have run a total distance of 191 kilometers in 58 hours, an unprecedented achievement by any Kuwaiti runner. Al-Qenae’s father, journalist and Chairman of the Board of the Kuwait Journalist Association Faisal Al-Qenae, commented on the event and expressed his pride at his son’s achievement. He said that his son was sponsored by the Ali Abdul Wahab Company and the Chairman of the Kuwait Olympic Committee Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah. He added that if his son makes it through to the final part of the race he will have run a total of 251 kilometers in the harshest of weather and environmental conditions.



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McIlroy, Quiros take control at Augusta Woods opens with a 71

HOUSTON: Mardy Fish, of the United States, serves to Albert Ramos, of Spain, during a US Men’s Clay Court Championship tennis match in Houston. Fish won 6-3, 6-4. — AP

Fish advances in Houston HOUSTON: Mardy Fish made a victorious debut as America’s top-ranked men’s tennis player on Thursday, defeating Albert Ramos in straight sets to reach the quarter-finals of the US Clay Court Championships. Fish, the top seed in this $442,500 ATP event, defeated Ramos 6-3, 6-4, turning back a late charge that saw the Spaniard pull back from 5-1 down in the second set to 5-4. “Naturally, you think, 6-3, 5-1 and you figure the finish line is pretty close. You’ve got to keep your foot on the gas a little more,” said Fish, who had a first-round bye. “But he played better at the end. He has nothing to lose at that point. We’ve all been there.” Fish, who won this title in 2006, arrived in Houston ranked 11th in the world after reaching the semi-finals of the Miami Masters last week. With Andy Roddick’s fall from eighth to 14th, Fish is the top-ranked US man for the first time in his career. But Fish admitted he found it difficult to make the transition from the Miami hard courts to clay. “You forget how physical it is and how patient you have to be and how points don’t just end as quickly as they do on hard courts,” he said. “You walk off any time with a win on clay court and you are pretty satisfied.” Fish will face sixthseeded Kei Nishikori of Japan on Friday. Nishikori beat Igor Andreev of Russia 6-3, 6-3. Thirdseeded Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain also reached the quarter-finals, overcoming five double-faults in a 6-4, 6-1 victory over India’s Somdev Devvarman. “I played pretty consistent and it was a solid match for my first time on clay this year,” Garcia-Lopez said. “Overall, I am happy with the start. I look forward to the quarterfinals.” Seventh-seeded Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay cruised to a 7-5, 6-1 victory over American James Blake. Cuevas, who defeated Roddick in Miami, had six aces as he dominated the second set. — AFP

AUGUSTA: Britain’s Rory McIlroy, widely tipped as a future world number one, produced golf as dazzling as the spring sunshine at Augusta National to charge into a share of the lead at the Masters on Thursday. The Northern Irishman, who recorded top-three finishes in three of the last five majors, fired a flawless seven-under-par 65 to set the early pace before being caught late in the day by Spaniard Alvaro Quiros, who birdied the last two holes. South Korean Yang Yongeun, who became Asia’s first male major winner at the 2009 PGA Championship, finished bogey-bogey for a 67 to end a fascinating day of low-scoring level with compatriot KJ Choi. Americans Matt Kuchar and Ricky Barnes opened with 68s while fourtimes winner Tiger Woods, bidding for his first tournament win in almost 17 months, narrowly missed birdie putts on 15 and 16 before signing for a 71. Defending champion Phil Mickelson, seeking his fourth Masters title, was three under playing the last before missing the green with his approach to record his only bogey of the round for a 70. In perfect spring weather at Augusta National where birdsong echoed amid the pine trees, McIlroy birdied three of the first four holes and negotiated the tricky Amen Corner loop in one under before picking up further shots at 14 and 15. “I drove the ball really good and when you drive it well, you have a chance to give yourself opportunities for birdies,” the 21-year-old told reporters after his red-hot start to the season’s opening major. “I hit my irons really good but I just stayed committed to the targets I was picking. I was playing smart and really just trying to leave myself in the best possible place. I did a good job of that today.” At last year’s British Open, McIlroy collapsed from a record 63 to a second-round 80 in brutal winds at St Andrews but he felt he could only learn from that experience. “Looking back on it, it was a very valuable lesson in my development as a golfer,” he said. “I’ll be thinking about it and I’ll be thinking about how I can do

AUGUSTA: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland watches his bunker shot on the first hole during the second round of the Masters golf tournament yesterday in Augusta, Ga. — AP things better tomorrow than I did that day in St Andrews.” The long-hitting Quiros, who claims he has the hands of a bricklayer, was delighted with his round after enduring a relatively lean spell since clinching his fifth European Tour title at the Dubai Desert Classic in February. “I’m very happy today,” the 28-year-old said after holing birdie putts from 20 feet on 17 and four feet at the last. “You know, I’ve been struggling with my game for a long time. “My target tomorrow is to make the cut. It would be stupid to think about shooting 65 again, because it’s not my way.” CONFIDENT START Woods, who has finished no worse than tied for sixth in his last six Masters appearances, made a reasonably confident start to reach the turn in one-under 35. He sank a 14-footer to birdie the parthree sixth but then faltered at the 10th, where he missed a par putt from six feet, and also at the 11th, where he drove into pine trees. Although he rebounded with birdies at 13 and 14, he failed to capitalize on further opportunities over the closing holes to end the day six strokes off the pace. “I hit a lot of beautiful putts, a lot of beautiful putts,” the 14-times major

champion said. “And they were just skirting the edge, so hopefully they will start going in. “I would rather be where Rory’s at but hey, it’s a long way to go. We have a long grind ahead of us. I’m very pleased. I’m right there in the ball game, I’m only six back.” Tournament favorite Mickelson, who teed off in the afternoon, was annoyed to bogey the par-four last after his approach ended up to the left of the green. “I missed it in spots where I could get up and down in spots that I knew the chip,” the four-times major winner said. “I had a good angle, and that’s why I was disappointed on 18. “I didn’t shoot myself out of it but I didn’t make up ground on the field the way I wanted to, so I’ve got to go do it tomorrow.” Britain’s Ross Fisher, whose wife is expecting their second child early next week, opened with a 69 to finish level with six others, including Spaniard Sergio Garcia, Australian Geoff Ogilvy and 2008 champion Trevor Immelman of South Africa. Among the other big names, Germany’s world number one and last year’s PGA Championship winner Martin Kaymer battled to a 78 while second-ranked Briton Lee Westwood carded a 72. — Reuters

Golf no longer Tiger and everybody else AUGUSTA: Golf used to be Tiger Woods and everybody else. About the only thing they had in common was how they described fair-to-middling rounds afterward, how a handful of near-misses could have changed everything. The difference, of course, was that Woods would go out the next day, and the next, and make almost everything in sight. Now he not only sounds like everybody else, he plays like everybody else, too. “I hit a lot of beautiful putts today and they were just skirting the edge. So hopefully,” Woods said after an opening round of 71 at the Masters, “those will start going in.” No one knows exactly what went wrong with his game since a stunning fall from grace about 16 months ago, perhaps least of all, Woods. Think back to a year ago here, when he was first slinking back into the game after months in hiding and a series of botched apologies. Woods finished tied for fourth, watched rival Phil

Mickelson slip into a green jacket, then moved onto the next major and came even closer to winning another US Open himself. Everything went downhill after that. The biggest change in Woods, outwardly at least, was hiring new swing coach Sean Foley. Signs of progress have been few and far between, which might explain why, when Woods rifled his tee shot into the rough right of the third fairway and arrived a few minutes behind it, half the spectators encircling his golf ball were emboldened enough to suggest how he should hit the next shot. “Punch out sideways,” one called out. “Hit the stinger,” another said. Woods’ caddie, Steve Williams, fixed the crowd with a stare, asked for quiet and then patiently told a camera crew and spectators near the end of the clearing to move to one side or the other. Woods, meanwhile, tested how much hacksawing the bush behind him would allow, then hunkered down over the ball. —AP



Ghana fight for Olympic survival in Sudan JOHANNESBURG: Ghana are in danger of making a shock early exit from the 2012 London Olympic Games qualifying competition as they head for Sudan this weekend trailing by one goal. The west African country that has made six appearances at the Games and took the 1992 bronze medals in Barcelona were not expected to have much trouble with opponents who struggled to make the second round. But after scraping a solitary-goal success over war-ravaged Somalia, the Sudanese went to Accra two weeks ago and triumphed 1-0 via an additional-time goal from Martin Al-Khalees. It was no more than the east Africans deserved in a competition restricted to under-23 footballers until the finals as they squandered several chances before a cross

led to the lone goal. Ghana will not find the sauna-like weather nor the partisan crowd to their liking in Omdurman-a venue few visiting football teams leave celebrating a victory. All is not lost for the talented Black Meteors, though, with the inevitable complacency in the squad disappearing after the stunning first leg scoreline, and Sudan will do well to make the last-16 phase. Cameroon and South Africa are other ‘big name’ countries in uncomfortable positions after failing to maximize home advantage against Tanzania and Libya respectively. A Mark Pangwoh brace earned 2000 Sydney gold medalists Cameroon a 2-1 home victory over Tanzania, but the central Africans may rue conceding a late first half goal and the failure of Parfait Essengue to

convert a penalty. South Africa were sitting pretty midway through the second half at home to Libya with a four-goal advantage, but a bizarre own goal and a last-minute strike from Sami al-Ghulla transformed the landscape. This tie will be staged in Bamako, capital of Mali and the new ‘home’ of Libyan football as conflict rages between pro- and anti-Moamer Kadhafi forces further north. The other southern Africa contenders enjoy home advantage, but most have their work cut out with Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique and Swaziland needing to cancel two-goal deficits and only the Swazis scored on the road. Angola are slightly better off having held Senegal goalless in Dakar while the Congo-Uganda tie

German League Preview

French League Preview

Marseille look for Lille lapse to boost title bid

Bundesliga title, then hair-cut for Dortmund star BERLIN: With Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund facing a tough clash at Hamburg today, Germany midfielder Kevin Grosskreutz insists he will only cut his hair once his team lift the title. The 22-year-old life-long Dortmund fan broke into the Germany squad this season on the back of impressive form which has helped steer Dortmund towards their first German league title since 2002. With his side currently seven points clear at the top of the table with six games left to go, Borussia are edging ever closer to the Bundesliga shield and a Champions League place next season. But Grosskreutz, who scored as Dortmund came from behind to beat title rivals Hanover 4-1 at home last Saturday, is refusing to get a haircut until his team are crowned German champions. “We are slowly getting towards the title and then I can get my haircut,” he admitted. “I have never had it so long before, I bet last October that I wouldn’t get it cut until we win the league.” Hamburg coach Michael Oenning has said he hopes Dortmund win the title, but plans on pulling off an upset when they host the German leaders. “I like Dortmund and would be happy if they are champion,” said the 45-year-old, who took over after Armin Veh was sacked last month. “But we will cook something up for them.” And Hamburg captain Heiko Westermann, who used to play for Dortmund’s rivals Schalke, said he wanted to beat the leaders to open up the title race. “We want to reward our hard work by beating Dortmund to make the league exciting again,” said the Germany defender. Hamburg are seventh in the table and four points off a place in the Champions League. “We need the points not only for our confidence, but also to achieve our goals,” said Oenning. Second-placed Bayer Leverkusen can expect few problems on Sunday as they host St Pauli, who are waiting to hear their punishment after last week’s game with Schalke was abandoned after the assistant referee was hit by a beer cup. Defending champions Bayern Munich are up to third in the table and are at Nuremberg in the Bavarian derby today. They have few injury problems and only defender Daniel van Buyten will be missing as he struggles to overcome a muscle injury. Having been sacked by Schalke last month, relegation-threatened Wolfsburg coach Felix Magath brings his team back to Gelsenkirchen to face the Champions League quarter-finalists. The mid-table Royal Blues, now coached by exHoffenheim boss Ralf Rangnick, stunned Champions

could swing either way with the visitors to Brazzaville ahead thanks to a Karim Ndugwa goal. A Mohamed Chalili brace helped Algeria defeat Madagascar 3-0 and it is hard to see the islanders turning the tables in Antananarivo while the Democratic Republic of Congo look a safe bet having triumphed 2-1 in Burkina Faso. But the ‘bankers’ of the 14-fixture schedule must be Nigeria, runners-up to Argentina at the 2008 Beijing Games, who thumped Equatorial Guinea 5-0 at home and rendered the return leg largely meaningless. Zambia are already through to the third round after completing a 3-0 overall victory over Rwanda in Kigali last weekend while Benin received a bye when Gambia withdrew. — AFP

DORTMUND: Dortmund’s Argentinean striker Lucas Barrios (left) and Hanover’s Tunisian defender Karim Haggui vie for the ball during the German first division Bundesliga football match Borussia Dortmund v Hanover 96 in the western German city of Dortmund on April 2, 2011. Dortmund won the match 4-1. — AFP

League holders Inter Milan with a 5-2 victory at the San Siro in midweek, while Wolfsburg are third from bottom. “Of course, this is not quite the same as a match against any other former club of mine,” admitted Magath. “It is still a bit too close to just put it out of your mind.” And Schalke’s players still carry the scars of working under Magath. “Until recently, many players lived in fear of him,” said Peru winger Jefferson Farfan in German magazine Sport-Bild. But captain Manuel Neuer insists the coach issue is not a big deal. “It is the game between Wolfsburg and Schalke, not Schalke against Magath,” the 25-year-old. — AFP

PARIS: French league champions Marseille are refusing to give up hope of defending their title, but admit they could be at the mercy of Lille losing their grip in the run-in. Lille hold a four-point advantage on Didier Deschamps’ side and, with nine games remaining, continue to defy rivals and pundits alike during what has been a steady march towards a first league crown in 53 years. To perhaps a lesser extent, Marseille know what it’s like to get reacquainted with glory. Before their 2010 triumph the 1993 European Cup winners last won the league crown in 1993, being stripped of the honor afterwards due to a matchfixing scandal. Deschamps’s side are favorites to take all three points at the Stade Velodrome Sunday when they host mid-table Toulouse. And the former France captain stressed they can’t afford to make any slipups-unless Lille make blunders of their own. “For the moment Lille are maintaining such a solid pace that it’s hard for anyone to overtake them,” Deschamps said after their 1-0 wins over Lens. “We don’t want to have any regrets (at the end of the season) and that means we must keep on winning games. Lille are masters of their own destiny. If they keep on winning, there’s very little we can do about it.” After fellow title contenders Rennes, Lyon and Paris Saint Germain were all held last week Marseille and Lille were touted as the only remaining titlechasers. Third-placed Rennes are seven points off the pace on 51 points, with Lyon on 50 and PSG with 46. Lille have a great chance to reinforce their title credentials when they travel to Monaco today looking to take advantage of the Principality side’s poor form of late. Struggling down in 18th place, Monaco lost their last home game, to 12th placed Nancy, two weeks ago. But that means they are unlikely to give anything away cheaply today. “We have to keep winning,” said Monaco coach Laurent Banide after last week’s 2-0 away win at bottom side Arles-Avignon. “We’re going through hard times so taking three points has given us a huge boost as we prepare for the final sprint.” Banide will be wary of a Lille side which has shown few signs of weakness this season. Lille are also at full strength, having welcomed back defender Adil Rami after he suffered a collarbone knock in the France v Croatia friendly last month. What’s more, Rudi Garcia’s side can look forward to a comparatively light run-in to the title. They don’t face any of the top six teams until they travel to Paris Saint Germain for the 37th and penultimate game of the season. — AP



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Italy waits to see how Inter react ROME: All eyes in Italy this weekend will be back on the San Siro to see how champions Inter Milan react after a nightmare week. Inter host Chievo at the same stadium that was the scene of their two humiliating defeats inside four days that saw them between 3-0 by AC Milan in Serie A and then thrashed 5-2 by Schalke 04 in the Champions League. Those four days were all it took for Inter’s season to unravel right under their noses. They now sit five points behind Milan in the league with seven games left to play while their Champions League hopes are realistically over. There is still the Italian Cup to play for but that would be a scant consolation for a team that did the treble last season. Inter will at least welcome back Brazilian centre-back Lucio after he missed both crushing defeats through suspension, but his return will

only serve to plug the gap left by Cristian Chivu’s ban, both domestically and in Europe as he was sent off in both disastrous encounters. One player, however, cannot explain the loss of eight goals in two matches, or even more importantly the feeble way such a prestigious team could succumb in two games of such a magnitude. The soul-searching will have gone on all week for Inter and their coach Leonardo, whose reputation has taken a huge hit. There is still much to play for, however, even if it is unrealistic to expect to progress in the Champions League. Five points with seven games to go may seem like a mountain to climb but Milan have the harder run in with trips to Fiorentina, this weekend, Roma and Udinese to come. A double is certainly not out of the question for Inter, who play Roma in the Cup semifinal. They have also shown an ability

to put lesser teams to the sword under Leonardo as his record of 11 wins in his first 13 league games proved. And captain Javier Zanetti, who has been there, done that and seen it all before, called on the troops to keep their cool. “We have to remain calm and serene so we can try to understand what the problems are and then kick-off from there, as we have done many times before,” he said following the Schalke debacle. “There’s no way we’ll throw away everything good we’ve done up until now just because of these two defeats.” The problem was not so much the defeats but the nature of them and the fact that they came in the two most important games of the season. There is also no denying they’ve handed league leaders Milan a huge boost in the title run-in. Milan came into the derby in trouble having drawn

Copa Libertadores

at home to rock bottom Bari and then lost at Palermo in their previous two games. But now they have an extended lead at the top-Napoli are second, three points back-and top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic will return from suspension against Fiorentina. However, former Milan striker Alberto Gilardino believes his team can cause a surprise at the Stadio Artemio Franchi. ”So far in Florence we’ve shown that we can match anyone and that’s also how it will be on Sunday, we’ll give our all to make life difficult for Milan,” he said. The other title contenders, Napoli, face a tough trip to Bologna and without their suspended top scorer Edinson Cavani, although on a three-match winning run. In other games Udnese host Roma as they look to hold onto the crucial fourth spot while chasers Lazio entertain Parma. — AFP

Scottish Premier League Preview

Gremio in last final 16

SANTIAGO: Argentina’s Velez Sarsfield’s Santiago Silva (front) from Uruguay, battles for the ball with Chile’s Universidad Catolica’s Adan Vergara during a Copa Libertadores soccer match in Santiago. — AP

Italian League Preview

PORTO ALEGRE: Brazilian club Gremio qualified for the final 16 of the Copa Libertadores with a 20 win over Colombia’s Atletico Junior on Thursday. Lucio opened the scoring for Gremio with a low shot at the back post in the 34th minute and Borges followed with another goal in the 61st. The win gave Gremio 10 points from five matches in Group 2. Atletico Junior, which has already qualified for the last 16 after winning four previous group matches, stayed atop the standings with 12 points. Gremio’s win eliminated Peruvian club Leon de Huanuco, which has four points. In other games, Emelec drew 0-0 with Bolivia’s Jorge Wilstermann to remain in contention to qualify from Group 6. With one match left, defending Libertadores champion Internacional of Brazil has 10 points, Chiapas of Mexico has nine, and Emelec has eight. In a late game, Chile’s Universidad Catolica drew 0-0 with Velez Sarsfield of Argentina, giving both teams a chance to still qualify out of Group 4. With one match left, Caracas of Venezuela leads the group with nine points, Catolica is second with eight and Velez Sarsfield is third with seven. Velez next travels to Caracas and Catolica hosts already-eliminated Union Espanola. The Copa Libertadores is Latin America’s top international club competition. Group matches continue through this month, with the top two clubs in each fourteam section progressing to the knockout round of 16. The final is scheduled for June. — AP

Hot-shot Hooper calls for Celtic consistency GLASGOW: On-form striker Gary Hooper says he is ready to inspire Celtic to the Scottish Premier League title as his side prepares for the visit of St Mirren to Parkhead yesterday. The English striker scored a double in the midweek 3-1 win against Hibernian as the Hoops reclaimed top spot, which Rangers briefly held for 24 hours for the first time in 2011. A win against second-bottom St Mirren could take them five points clear of Rangers before they play Hamilton on Sunday. And Hooper, who has now scored 17 goals in his debut season in Scotland, says he is back to top form after the international break and aims to score the goals that will help Celtic clinch the title. “We need to win every game between now and the end of the season and that’s our focus,” said Hooper. “We’re back at the top of the league and we’re out to win all the games we have left. “We play before Rangers this weekend when we face St Mirren and if we play yesterday as we did in the first half against Hibs we should hopefully put more pressure on them. “Everyone is fresh and sharp again following the break for international games and the postponement at Inverness. “I also felt sharper against Hibs, stronger and quicker, and it showed in my performance. From a team point of view it was one of our best performances of the season and we must keep that standard up.” Daniel Majstorovic will miss out through injury but Shaun Maloney may be available after a long absence. Rangers have had to cope without several key players in recent weeks due to injury concerns. But Kyle Lafferty, who scored in the midweek win over St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park, says that despite last weekend’s reverse to Dundee United the squad is more than capable of going on a winning run as they look to clinch their third consecutive league title. “We just have to go out and win every game we can. There are nine games left and we know that if win them, we’ll win the league,” the Northern Ireland international said. “I think we’re more than capable of doing that. With the way we play, it’s going to take a very good team to beat us. “Saturday was disappointing but we knew even after that that we had 10 games to go and things were still in our own hands. “If we can continue showing the same battling qualities we showed at McDiarmid Park, I’m confident we’ll do well in the rest of our games.” Elsewhere today, high-flying Hearts host Motherwell at Tynecastle. The Jambos have a host of injury concerns as they face a Motherwell side that need a win to make certain of a top six finish. Dundee United welcome St Johnstone to Tannadice hoping to making it seven league wins in a row as they chase a European spot. —AP



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Chelsea aim to shrug off Euro blues against Wigan LONDON: Carlo Ancelotti faces the daunting task of lifting his Chelsea players for the visit of Wigan Athletic following the Champions League disappointment against Manchester United. Ancelotti’s side face the Premier League’s bottom club still smarting from the 1-0 quarterfinal first leg home defeat at the hands of United when they were controversially denied an added time penalty. With the decisive second leg scheduled to take place at Old Trafford three days after the Wigan clash, the arrival of Roberto Martinez’s side in west London will inevitably be overshadowed by the much anticipated European return. However, Blues manager Ancelotti is adamant his players must switch their attention back to domestic matters if they are to avoid compounding the failure of midweek. Chelsea currently lie fourth in the Premier League, eleven points adrift of leaders United but they have a game in hand and must also visit Old Trafford in the league on May 8. Europe therefore remains their best hope of silverware even though they must overturn a single goal deficit but Ancelotti and his players are not yet ready to concede the league title they won last season. “Our focus is to play against Wigan and to win, to take confidence and three points in the table, then we don’t have a problem physically,” said the manager. “We’ll have time to focus for the game at Old Trafford.” John Terry, the Blues captain, echoed Ancelotti’s thoughts. “Manchester United know we will never give up on the league and we will keep going until the end,” he said. “We’ve got a game in hand, we still have to play them away and, with two wins in those fixtures, things will look a lot closer. “We were disappointed with the draw at Stoke (last Saturday) because we had been in good form going into the international break. It’s important we bounce back as quickly as possible.” Ancelotti is likely to rotate his squad in a bid to keep key players fresh for the United match and defender David Luiz will return at centre back having been cup-tied in midweek. More intriguing will be how the manager handles his misfiring strikers and, having paired Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres without success in the Champions League, could start with Nicolas Anleka and Salomon Kalou up front. —AFP

Striking dilemma for Fergie as Man UTD face Fulham LONDON: Sir Alex Ferguson faces a striking dilemma as Manchester United seek to turn the screw in the Premier League title race against Fulham today without the banned Wayne Rooney. Rooney’s superb hat-trick against West Ham last week and the winning goal in the midweek Champions League victory over Chelsea provided hard evidence that the England striker is rediscovering his best form after a protracted slump. But frustratingly for Ferguson, United will be deprived of Rooney’s services against the Cottagers this weekend following the 25-year-old’s expletive-laden tirade at Upton Park which led to a two-match ban. The suspension-which also rules Rooney out of next week’s FA Cup semi-final clash with Manchester City-means Ferguson will have to juggle his resources once more. Ferguson could pair Javier Hernandez with Dimitar Berbatov in attack or ask either player to play the lone striker role. Alternatively, fit-again Michael Owen is waiting in the wings. But whatever permutation he chooses, Ferguson will be buoyed by the fact that United have not found goals hard to come by this season. Berbatov and Hernandez, along with the suspended Rooney, have all hit double figures, and could conceivably finish with more than 20 goals apiece. “I said at the start of the season if we can get two strikers who can score 20 goals we’re in with a chance of winning something,” Ferguson said. “I think what’s kept us going is that there’s been a decent goal threat from us. We have forwards who can win matches.” The fact that United are still fighting on three fronts-League, FA Cup and Champions League-has fuelled heady talk of a possible repeat of the club’s historic 1999 treble.—AFP

Liverpool’s Gerrard to miss the rest of season LONDON: Liverpool’s hopes of securing European football have been dealt a blow after captain Steven Gerrard was ruled out for the rest of the season after suffering a recurrence of a groin injury, the club said yesterday. The midfielder, who last played for the club in their 3-1 victory over Manchester United on March 6, underwent surgery last month but suffered a setback after returning to training last week. “We still don’t know definitively what the problem is, so we will wait until we get a precise answer from the people he has been to see. But he will not be involved again this season,” boss Kenny Dalglish told a news conference. “Without being disrespectful to the players who are injured, the most important ones are the ones who are fit because they’re the ones who can be chosen. At this particular moment in time, I’m as good a player as Steven.” Liverpool are in the middle of a mini injury crisis with Gerrard joining first choice defenders Daniel Agger, Glen Johnson and Martin Kelly on the sidelines. Agger has been ruled out for the rest of the campaign with a knee tendon injury while Kelly and Johnson both have hamstring problems. Gerrard had already missed six weeks of the season after tearing his hamstring playing for England against France in November. His latest injury comes at a poor time for his club who have dragged themselves back into contention for a European place after an appalling start to the season. After dropping into the relegation zone under former manager Roy Hodgson, they have enjoyed a revival under new boss Dalglish and are now sixth in the standings, five points behind Tottenham Hotspur in fifth-the only guaranteed Europa League berth.— Reuters

Matches on TV (Local timings)

English Premier League Wolves v Everton Abu Dhabi Sports HD 3 Abu Dhabi Sports HD 5


Tottenham v Stoke Abu Dhabi Sports HD 6


Sunderland v West Brom Abu Dhabi Sports HD 7


Man United v Fulham Abu Dhabi Sports HD 5


Chelsea v Wigan Abu Dhabi Sports HD 3


Bolton v West Ham Abu Dhabi Sports HD 4


Blackburn v Birmingham 17:00 Abu Dhabi Sports HD 8

LIVERPOOL: File photo shows Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard (left) as he vies for the ball against Fulham’s Danny Murphy. Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard will miss the rest of the season with a groin injury. — AFP

Spurs to bounce back from Euro mauling LONDON: Tottenham will attempt to shake off their European hangover against Stoke today knowing that only victory will do if they are to secure another season of Champions League football. The Londoners’ fairytale European campaign ran into a brick wall against Real Madrid this week, Spurs crashing 4-0 at the Bernabeu in a result that all but guarantees their elimination at the quarter-final stage. Barring a miraculous comeback in next Wednesday’s second leg, Spurs must now turn their attention to the Premier League race for fourth place if they are to return to the Champions League next season. As it stands, Tottenham are in fifth place in the table, five points adrift of Chelsea and with both London clubs having eight games remaining. Manchester City, in third, are a point ahead of Chelsea and have played a game more. William Gallas, Tottenham’s France international defender, stressed the importance of putting the Madrid setback, which also included the early dismissal of striker Peter Crouch, behind them as soon as possible. “It was a bad night but we have to be strong in our heads,” he said. “We have to play against

Stoke in the Premier League today and that game is very important. “We have to try to win that game and try to qualify for the Champions League again next season. We have to try to win every game.” Injuries to other defenders means it is unlikely Gallas will be able to sit out the visit of the Potters, who are in eleventh place and are renowned as being one of the most uncompromising and physical sides in the top flight. Manager Harry Redknapp has concerns in other positions too, not least over winger Aaron Lennon, whose name had to be removed from the team-sheet just minutes before the Madrid game because of illness. The England international was accused by a section of the Tottenham support of lacking mental toughness ahead of the biggest game of the season but Redknapp made it clear he did not blame the 23-year-old, who may be passed fit to face Stoke. “Lennon did nothing wrong,” Redknapp said. “He was desperate to play. We asked him if he felt able to play and he said he had no strength or energy and couldn’t be sure he would last five minutes, so after that I just couldn’t take the chance.” —AFP



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Bulls silence Boston’s big guns

43 PORTO: Spartak Moscow’s Marek Suchy from Czech Republic challenges FC Porto’s Silvestre Varela (left) during their Europa League Quarter-final, first leg soccer match at the Dragao Stadium. Varela scored Porto’s second goal.— AP

Porto, Villarreal in Europa goal feast Salvio nets twice as Benfica hit 4 against PSV BERNE: Porto’s Radamel Falcao scored a hat-trick to help the newly-crowned Portuguese champions thrash Spartak Moscow 5-1 as goals flowed and South American players shone in Europa League quarter-final first leg ties on Thursday. Porto’s compatriots Benfica, attempting to reach their first European semi-final for 17 years, thrashed PSV Eindhoven 41 with all their goals coming from Argentines-two from Eduardo Salvio and one each from Pablo Aimar and Javier Saviola. Two goals from Brazil striker Nilmar helped Villarreal to a 5-1 win over Dutch league leaders Twente Enschede as 19 goals were scored on the night-one more than the total netted in this week’s Champions League last eight first leg matches. Dynamo Kiev were held to a 1-

1 draw at home to Braga, Portugal’s third representatives and conquerors of Liverpool in the last 16, in the other tie with Andriy Shevchenko sent off just 15 minutes after coming on as a halftime substitute. The former AC Milan and Chelsea player was booked twice in eight minutes, the second for playing on after the whistle had gone for offside. Porto and Benfica, who met on Sunday with Porto winning 2-1 to clinch the Portuguese title in the stadium of their great rivals, both started with eight South American players in their lineups and their matches unfolded in near identical style. Colombia striker Falcao, whose second Europa League hat-trick made him top scorer in this season’s competition with 10,

opened the scoring for Porto in the 37th minute, sweeping home Alvaro Pereira’s cross. Silvestre Varela was the only Portuguese player to get on the scoresheet in any match when he volleyed in Falcao’s pass in the 65th and Brazilian defender Maicon headed the third five minutes later. Kirill Kombarov pulled one back in the 70th only for Falcao to add two more in the last six minutes. “I think this is one I will remember forever,” Falcao told reporters. “Even though we clinched the title on Sunday, we did not sway from the objective which is to go ahead in this competition to the final.” Benfica utterly outclassed PSV Eindhoven, helped by two Argentine names from the past and one prospect for the future, in a repeat of the 1988 European

Cup final which the Dutch won on penalties. Former international Aimar swept home the opener in the 37th minute and 20-year-old Salvio added the second with a clever flick from Fabio Coentrao’s cross on the stroke of halftime. The Argentine influence was clearly visible in Benfica’s quick passing and clever flicks and Salvio added a superb third in the 53rd, beating two defenders before rolling the ball into the far corner. PSV’s Zakaria Labyad pulled one back with 10 minutes left after goalkeeper Roberto fumbled a cross but former Barcelona and Argentina forward Saviola fired home a superbly-taken fourth goal in time added on. Spain’s last representatives Villarreal were 3-0 up against twente by the break with goals from Carlos Marchena,

Borja Valero and a Nilmar header in first-half injury time. Italian Giuseppe Rossi curled in his ninth of this season’s competition in the 55th minute before Nilmar dummied his marker and blasted home his second and Villarreal’s fifth in the 80th. Marc Janka grabbed a consolation goal in stoppage time. “We still have the return leg but we have taken a big step forward,” said delighted Villarreal coach Juan Carlos Garrido. “There is still another game in which we will clearly be favorites but it still has to be played.” Both goals came early in Kiev where Andriy Yarmolenko headed Dynamo ahead in the sixth minute, only for the home side’s defender Oleg Gusev to deflect the ball into his own goal to gift Braga the equalizer six minutes later.— Reuters

9 April  
9 April  

Kuwait Times